Ukrainian officers indicted for smuggling money from Iraq

Ukrainian prosecutors have charged three high-ranking officers served with the country's military contingent in Iraq with smuggling currency.

Two of the three officers, including a former deputy commander of the Ukrainian brigade in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Serhiy Savchenko, were formally indicted on charges of attempting to smuggling some US$300,000 (Ђ250,000) in cash earlier this year, prosecutor Volodymyr Shapakin said.

Both indicted officers are in Ukraine and under orders not to leave the country, Shapakin said.

Prosecutors say the money was discovered in February by customs officials, stashed in luggage of the crew of an aircraft that brought Ukrainian troops home from Iraq.

Without identifying its sources, Kiev's private TV5 reported that the officers were involved in siphoning the money from a U.S. grant for the reconstruction of the southern-central Iraqi province of Wasit, which is under control of Ukrainian troops. The report could not be verified.

Ukraine has begun a phased pullout of its 1,650-strong contingent from Iraq and has said it will be complete by the end of the year, the AP reports.

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