: UPDATE: Ukrainian diplomat caught red-handed smuggling? (Photos, video)

12:37 May. 23, 2016

UPDATE: Ukrainian diplomat caught red-handed smuggling? (Photos, video)

Photo courtesy - State Fiscal Service in the Zakarpattya region

Ukrainian citizen tried to transport cigarettes disguised as a diplomatic cargo to Hungary 

UPDATE: Ukraine's Foreign Ministry confirms that the border guards at Ukrainian-Hungarian checkpoint detained not a diplomat, but a family member, who tried to smuggle nearly 60,000 cigarettes.

This was announced by Ukraine's Deputy Foreign Minister, Chief of Foreign MinistryStaff Vadym Prystaiko, at a May 23 press briefing.

"Neither a diplomat ... nor an Embassy employee was arrested, but a family member. This questions the responsibility of our family members," said Prystaiko.

According to Deputy Minister, the detainee indeed had a diplomatic passport as a family member of an employee of Ukraine's Embassy to Slovakia. The car and cigarettes were arrested. "Our fiscal authorities are investigating the case", said Prystaiko.

He said that the detainee had a legal right to have a diplomatic passport. "Every member of a (diplomatic) family obtains a diplomatic passport when leaving the country and getting accredited," said the official.

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He did not answer the question, what consequences will be for the first Secretary of Ukraine's Embassy to Slovakia Lischyshyn Oksana, who allegedly signed a letter confirming that the detainee transported a diplomatic cargo in his car. 

Prystaiko added if this letter really exists and its existance is confirmed, then it will be a very serious violation. 

STORY: Border guards discovered USD 25,000 worth of cigarettes in a car, driven by a Ukrainian man holding diplomatic passports, at the Ukrainian-Hungarian border. This was reported by the State Fiscal Service in the Zakarpattia region.

On Saturday, 21 May, the Ukrainian citizen drove his car - VW Transporter - to the 'green corridor' at the Ukrainian-Hungarian border checkpoint in the Zakarpattia region. To pass through the customs control, the car owner produced a diplomatic passport, a vehicle certificate, and a letter from one of Ukrainian embassies confirming that he transported a diplomatic cargo in his vehicle, which was not subject to control according to the Convention, the State Fiscal Service reports.

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"As the driver had the tinted windows in his car, the customs officers were unable to carry out a visual inspection of the cargo without opening the car", the statement reads.

The Ukrainian citizen said the vehicle had a diplomatic cargo and he refused to grant the customs officials access to his car without permission and presence of Ukraine's Foreign Ministry representatives.

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Subsequently, the Ukrainian citizen was about to return to Ukraine after taking verbal instructions of his managers. But the border guards stopped his car and carried an in-depth inspection. Finally, the border guards discovered 56,890 packs of Ukrainian-made cigarettes with Ukraine's excise stamps. The driver refused to explain the situation.

"We drafted the protocol on violation of customs regulations. Cigarettes and the vehicle, with a total worth of USD 35,000, were confiscated", the guards summed up.

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