Eighty percent of the entire illegal flow of cigarettes from Ukraine to the EU passes through a special window on the border with Hungary. "This is an element of the shadow program of support for Hungarian separatism in Zakarpattia, which is personally supervised by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán", - journalist Yevhen Plynskyi states in his journalistic investigation.
"There is one large window on the border of Europe and Ukraine with a safe conduct from Europeans. Through which passes 80% of the entire illegal flow of cigarettes. If we take the data from 2016, then out of 5.8 billion cigarettes - this is about 600 containers - about 500 go through this scheme. This is a section of the Ukrainian border with Hungary. It is hard to believe in, but cigarette smuggling from Ukraine to Europe through Hungary is element of the shadow program of support for Hungarian separatism in Zakarpattia, which is personally supervised by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán , - the journalist states.
"Hungary illegally distributes Hungarian passports to Ukrainians and finances Hungarian communities, which, literally for no reason in particular, distribute money to people. Not to everyone, but to those who received Hungarian passport. According to official statistics for 2018 alone, Hungary brought about $10 million to Zakarpattia. But this is only the top of the iceberg, after all, you need to account for this money and write them off to some programs. Part of the funding that you can run without reporting is money from the cigarette smuggling support. This is money for additional payments to doctors and teachers, assistance to farmers, just financial support for the Hungarian passport holder", - Plynskyi claims.
According to the journalist, "it was for the partial financing of these projects, by an unspoken decision of the Hungarian authorities, and with the approval of Prime Minister Orbán, that they made a window for smuggling cigarettes at the border. A partial income from it goes to support the Hungarian communities in Zakarpattia. How does it work in practice? Unlike small schemes, large-scale smuggling of cigarettes into Hungary is an absolute guarantee of security. Nobody catches and holds these cigarette batches on both sides of the border. They go openly, in caravans, 5-10 trucks each, for a special shift of the Hungarian customs, which does not see them. From 20 to 50 trucks come to Hungary per month, each of which has at least 1000 boxes. Different brands… They give a window. They take money from our business for it and transfer it to their communities".
Plynskyi claims that from the Hungarian side, these flows are supervised by businessman Viktor Kish.
"Businessmen and politicians brothers Baloha and Mykhailo Lanio are working on this window from the Ukrainian side. These two business structures compete among themselves for the right to work with Kish", - the investigation said.
The journalist accuses the SBU and Zakarpattia customs of protecting this stream of smuggling.
"The SBU oversees this scheme in the person of Yevhen Rubizhnyi and his 4 department directorates K. Well, the Zakarpattia customs is also in business and, as well as the Hungarians, it provides a window for large quantities of cigarettes".
"If we recall the statistics that from 2014 to 2016 the number of cigarette smuggling increased from 500 million to 5.8 billion. Then we will understand how clearly and harmoniously this system has been working since 2015", - Plynskyi says.
According to the investigative journalist "30 thousand packs/hour – at such a speed Ukraine supplies illegal cigarettes to the EU, being the number one country in the world with this indicator".