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MIA created special Department on the return of assets obtained by criminal means
09.07.2015 | 01:40

The Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov: I ordered to create the Department on the return of assets obtained by criminal means. This Department will play one of the most important roles in the criminal and anti–corruption investigations related to the illegal transfer of money from Ukraine.

Its functions:

– To ensure close direct cooperation with law enforcement agencies of other countries in order to detect and to freeze as soon as possible the assets of persons that are under investigation by MIA–Ukraine   both in Ukraine and abroad. To interact with the US FBI and special contact centers in more than one hundred countries around the world, which have to provide assistance in the search and return of assets as well as with other relevant organizations;

– To ensure collecting criminal assets in favor of the Ukrainian state on the basis of decisions of Ukrainian and foreign judicial authorities;

– To provide analytical support of the MIA investigative activity and to ensure coordination and interaction with Gosfinmonitoring (State Agency for Financial Monitoring) and the General Prosecutor's Office within the tasks assigned to the Department;

– To collect and to analyze information from all public information sources in other countries in order to maximize the effectiveness of the investigative activity of the MIA–Ukraine.

Priority cases:

Zlochevsky case

To reveal the public funds brought out of Ukraine by the former Minister of Ecology Nikolay Zlochevsky, including 23 million euros defrozen by the High Court of England in January, 2015. To ensure imposing of arrest on Zlochevsky's funds within framework of criminal proceedings.

– Cases involving Sergey Kurchenko

Companies related to Sergey Kurchenko were involved in the very big scale fraud and money laundering: for example, in Kharkiv via only one natural person UAH13 billions were laundered and transfered abroad. Given the scale of fraud the Department actually for the first time in the history initiates creation of the international investigation team with law enforcement agencies of Latvia, which has already opened in Latvia a parallel criminal case No. 11816005914 on the money laundering facts in the Latvian banks. It will allow to use legal options and mechanisms of the European Union and will speed up receiving and fixing of necessary information. The Department will provide analytical support and cooperation of the international investigation of activities of Kurchenko.

At the same time the real debtors of Kurchenko's companies will be established in order to recover their debts.  And we are talking about tens of millions of dollars.

– Cases related to the Dmitry Firtash Group of companies

Concerning Firtash's companies, the analytical assessment of his assets abroad will be carried out, including those assets for which information is provided in extraditional documents of the USA. (USA requests extradition of Dmitry Firtash from Austria). The compliance between the activities of its companies in Ukraine and data, declared in other countries, will be checked. For example, in England the majority of registered there Firtash's companies are exempted from the obligation to supply detailed accounting reports as belonging to small business.  At the same time one company, allegedly connected with Ukraine, declared in 2013 the assets in the amount of  US$61,298,000.00 but according to the results of 2014 showed a negative balance that testifies to large–scale concealment of assets.

There is also a task to find the revenues from the sale of natural gas received by Firtash's company from the State Company "Gas of Ukraine"; this deal resulted in the losses to the state amounting to UAH 5,742,612 305.88.

Besides, the legal assessment will be given to cardinal change of position by the NAK "Naftogaz of Ukraine" in the Stockholm arbitration. The lawyers, representing the state company, had warned that this change will result in losing the case and indeed the Firtash's companies won a claim to the "Naftogaz" in the amount of 11 billion cubic meters of gas.

– Case of Gosinvestproekt (State Investment Agency) and his former head Kaskiv

The Department has to find UAH 95,550,000.77 which Gosinvestproekt remitted to a number of Ukrainian legal entities; these entities then converted received money into the currency and transfered it to the accounts of offshore companies.

International dimension:

Creation of the Department an element of implementation of the Plan of the European Union and Ukraine on visa facilitation.

Chief of the Department:

Elena Tishchenko is appointed the head of the Department. 

She is a bright extraordinary personality – just in accordance with the tasks she faces.  There is a very small number of such experts. This person will be effective and will help us to return the assets that have been illegally exported from Ukraine.

You are reproaching law enforcement authorities that they can not return the assets that were taken abroad illegally? We are handling this problem. Illegal offshore schemes, which were built over the years – it's a tangle. There are very few experts that can untangle these schemes. And we can't succeed without such experts today.

This expert worked at a very specific, high and complex level. Accordingly, she faced resistance from the very influential persons with huge opportunities. And  she took the heat and was efficient.

Yelena Tishchenko – international lawyer with two full legal education:  Ukrainian and English. She received a Master of International Business Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Specialization: international financial crimes. Has 18 years of working experience, of which more than 8 years abroad.

After the first Maidan Yelena Tishchenko left commercial activity and came to work in the Parliament Committee on the fight against organized crime and corruption. She was engaged in reprivatization of Kryvorizhstal plant and the development of state programs for the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

In 2013 Yelena Tishchenko, participating as defense lawyer in the international process, which featured Russian opposition, has become the subject of attack of Russian secret services. She spent four months in the same cell of a pre–trial detention center where later was held Nadezhda Savchenko. Two weeks Yelena was on hunger strike. 

At the same time she was subjected to the international black PR campaign by which her pursuers wanted to justify their actions.

In 2014, she was responsible for cooperation with law enforcement agencies at the Administration of the President of Ukraine and was a delegate from Ukraine to GRECO (Group of States Against Corruption). She is the author of regulations on creation of the Interdepartmental Commission for the return of assets. Yelena is a mother of four children.

Press–service of MIA–Ukraine



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