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Fact Check: Old Incident Revived As Diplomat Arrested In Ukraine For Smuggling Amid Ongoing Ukraine-Russia War

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An image showing a box full of currency notes is being widely shared on social media claiming that it shows a diplomat was arrested by Ukrainian authorities who was trying to smuggle money and gold across the country amid the ongoing Ukraine-Russia war. 

The image is shared on Facebook with the caption that reads, “The Ukrainian Investigative Bureau has arrested a Ukrainian diplomat while he was trying to smuggle $140,000, 68,000 euros, 12 kilograms of gold bars and 13.8 kilograms of gold jewellery. Benny Johnson: That $14 billion congresses just sent to Ukraine is going to end up EXACTLY like this.”

Here’s the link to the above post

FACT CHECK 

NewsMobile fact-checked the above claim and found it to be MISLEADING. 

Doing a keyword search, we found a news report published on a Ukrainian website on March 16, 2022, with the headline, “The DBR will transfer $1 million of the seized funds to the Armed Forces.” According to the report, “At the Yahodyn checkpoint on February 28, 2021, during a search of a diplomatic minibus, State Bureau of Investigation (DBR) investigators found and seized almost € 68,000, more than $ 140,000, more than 12 kg of gold bars, gold jewellery weighing 13.8 kg.”

Taking a cue from this, we searched the website and social media accounts of Ukraine’s State Bureau of Investigation (DBR). “The DBR donated $ 1 million seized in an attempt to smuggle them abroad,” reads the Twitter post dated March 17, 2022. 

The details of the donation were also shared on the Facebook page of DBR stating, “DBR transferred one million US dollars to the army’s needs, seized when trying to take them abroad. At the checkpoint of Yagodin of the Volyn Customs Service on February 28, last year, investigators of the DBR conducted an inspection of a diplomatic minibus, in which almost 68 thousand euros, over 140 thousand US dollars, over 12 kilograms of gold bars and gold jewellery with a total weight of 13.8 kg, and a lot of cigarettes were seized.” (A rough translation of the post)

This seizure operation was also reported by DBR’s official Twitter account on March 1, 2021. 

The verified YouTube channel of the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) also shared the details of the seizure on March 1, 2021. The details in the YouTube video were similar to the details provided by DBR in their press note about recent donations. Reuters also reported the same incident on March 1, 2021. 

Thus, it is evident from the above information that an old incident is falsely revived as Ukrainian authorities have recently arrested a diplomat for smuggling gold across the country. Therefore, the viral claim is misleading. 

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