(Adds raid on gas producer)
By Natalia Zinets
KIEV, April 26 Ukraine's state security service
(SBU) raided the Kiev offices of Dragon Capital, one of the
country's largest investment banks, over the alleged use of
illegal software at its premises, the bank's spokeswoman said on
The SBU said in a statement it had uncovered eight companies
using what it said was illegal, Russian-made software that can
be used for hacking into private computers and phones. It did
not respond to requests for comment on the raid.
Bank spokeswoman Olga Beloblovskaya said she had no more
details about the investigation but said Dragon Capital had
always operated within the law.
"They have a court order to remove computer equipment. They
say it's about the illegal use of software. But the firm bought
this programme legally and officially. They want to take all the
computers and paralyse our work," she said in a Facebook post.
Ukraine has struggled to shake off a reputation for endemic
corruption and businesses often complain of harassment from law
enforcement bodies and the tax revenue service.
The SBU said it had seized computers at eight companies, but
did not name them, and that it was working to identify the
individuals at the firms that used the software.
"Russian special services are interested in getting access
to information on critical infrastructure and also on businesses
that have great defensive value," it said.
"Information gained clandestinely is used to damage the
sovereignty, territorial integrity, inviolability, defence
capability, and the state, economic and information security of
Gas producer Ukrgasvydobuvannya (UGV) said the SBU had also
raided its office and removed computer equipment.
"These actions could destabilise the work of UGV," it said
in a statement, saying that all company software had been
Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman interrupted a cabinet
meeting to express his surprise at the news of the raid on
Dragon Capital, which he warned could affect investor sentiment.
"I don't have the right to meddle in the work of the SBU,
but I think that everything should be done properly, without
paralysing (Dragon Capital's) work," he told ministers. "This
doesn't help to build the investment climate."
(Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Matthias Williams
and Ken Ferris)