Ukrainian thermal imagers manufacturer suspected of embezzling $41m

The Ukrainian national anti-corruption bureau, or NABU, has searched several private companies involved in the supply of defence products, including Archer, which manufactures thermal imaging cameras.

The actions are part of the proceedings on possible "embezzlement of public funds in particularly large amounts", NABU said in a statement.

Archer CEO Oleksandr Yeremenko on Thursday claimed that the searches had prevented the company from carrying out repair and maintenance of its equipment, which is used by the Ukrainian military.

Archer is a manufacturer of thermal imaging devices, accessories, sights, and rangefinders.

Ukrainian thermal imagers manufacturer suspected of embezzling $41m

In a statement on Friday, the anti-graft agency said that one of the companies had signed a number of contracts to supply the Defence Forces with thermal imaging devices, for the total cost of almost UAH 1.5 billion (USD 41 million), with an advance payment of 80 to 100 percent.

"Despite this, there was a violation of the delivery time by more than nine months, which resulted in the Armed Forces receiving with the delay the equipment they need to fight Russian aggression," NABU said.

"This led to the ministry of defence of Ukraine filing a lawsuit to recover receivables and penalties."

The bureau added that foreign companies affiliated with the unnamed supplier were being investigated by Western law enforcement agencies for possible money laundering.

It also denied seizing computers or copying designs, documentation, or software products that are the company's intellectual property, which Mr Yaremenko claimed had happened.

"The investigators are not prepared and do not know that we have fulfilled all government contracts, despite all the obstacles and difficulties," Archer CEO said.