Police in Macedonia arrest 9 suspected of embezzling $2.8M in helicopter maintenance scam

Police in Macedonia have arrested a former Defense Ministry official and eight others for allegedly embezzling $2.8 million from the government by filing fake expenses related to a helicopter maintenance program.

Police on Tuesday said the suspects — all Macedonians — were arrested following an investigation into the maintenance of six helicopters bought by the Macedonian military from Ukraine. The helicopters were flown back to Ukraine for maintenance between 2004 and 2009.

The money allegedly embezzled was forwarded to companies registered by the suspects in Cyprus, Britain, Bulgaria and Macedonia.

The ministry official and other suspects are facing trial for various fraud-related charges, as well as forming a criminal association.