Media publish secret court ruling to confiscate “Yanukovych assets”
A ruling of local Ukrainian court to confiscate assets allegedly stolen by the “criminal group” of former president Viktor Yanukovych was published on the Al Jazeera website on Jan. 10. The Mar. 28, 2017 ruling was made secret in Ukraine. Based on the published document, the court recognized Arkadiy Kashkin guilty of participating in a “criminal group” which misappropriated UAH 13.2 bln (about USD 1.66 bln) during March 2010 - February 2014. Kashkin was a nominal director of one of 400 companies in the group, and later signed a deal with prosecutors and managed to avoid a prison sentence. Based on the sentence, the court applied a special confiscation of cash and securities owned by group companies that were deposited in Ukraine’s Oschadbank and Privatbank. According to the ruling, the court confiscated USD 1.12 bln in cash owned by the companies, as well as Ukrainian local government bonds with a USD 1.08 bln total face value. The court ruling contains no details on how the “criminal group” was misappropriating money, while mostly focusing on description of where the allegedly stolen funds were allocated.
The National Security and Defense Council reported in April 2017 that it managed to confiscate USD 1.5 bln assets from Yanukovych, and USD 1.1 bln of confiscated cash officially came to the state budget the same month. The rest of the confiscated assets were allegedly state bonds.
Alexander Paraschiy: The ruling to confiscate a record amount of money in Ukraine’s history, made by a small regional court based in Donetsk Oblast, raised a lot of questions in 2017. Now that the ruling has been made public, it indicates just how poor the court’s reasoning for making the confiscation was. Most likely, the poor grounding was the main reason for making it secret. This increases the risk that companies whose assets have been confiscated will successfully sue the state. We see the risk for Ukraine to be obliged to return these money in the mid-term as insignificant. But publication of the ruling itself comes at a time when Ukraine’s law enforcement and judiciary system is already in the international limelight for its poor performance and corruption, and the self-inflicted damage only continues. We do not see the situation improving dramatically in the near future, but the point at which implemented reform of the judiciary may come due in part to the weight of international exposure.