Britain, US seek stolen Ukraine assets
LONDON (AP) — Britain and the United States co-hosted a two-day “asset recovery forum” Tuesday designed to help find and recover assets believed to have been stolen by the regime of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the effort may take years but should ultimately succeed.
“We are determined,” he said of the international bid to track down stolen money, announcing that a “kleptocracy squad” would be set up within the FBI to investigate high-level corruption in Ukraine and other parts of the world.
He said he was satisfied with European Union sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine.
Ukraine’s general prosecutor, Oleh Makhnitskyi, said his country has already identified some 1.8 billion pounds ($3 billion) of stolen assets and expects to find billions more. He said the former regime acted as an organized crime gang that left the country’s treasury bare.
Britain’s Serious Fraud Office also announced the beginning of a criminal investigation linked to possible money-laundering related to corruption in Ukraine.
It said it had obtained an order freezing £23 million worth of assets inside Britain as part of the case. It did not identify the people suspected of fraud.