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Lazarenko’s assets should be recovered by the non-government organizations

Civic society organizations united efforts for global initiative of recovery of proceeds of corruption of former prime – minister of Ukraine Pavlo Lazarenko.

The members of the initiative group presented an effective legal mechanism for recovery of $250 million to the people of Ukraine. The mechanism has been already launched in May this year.

 The members of the initiative group submitted a petition to the U.S. Department of Justice, in which they suggested to recover Lazarenko assets to the people of Ukraine by creating an Independent Charity Foundation with International Steering Committee in it.

The Department of Justice accepted the petition for the review. It is the only known official initiative of the Ukrainian party to recover Lazarenko assets to the people of Ukraine.

The members of the initiative group are planning to establish Independent Foundation, which should receive Lazarenko assets after the Final Order of the District Court in Washington will be available. The court has been hearing the case regarding forfeiture of 250$ million since 2004. Transparent use of these funds will be ensured by the structure of the Independent Foundation, which will be controlled and supervised by the International Steering Committee. The U.S. government in this scenario is expected to influence a lot the formation of the Steering Committee.

Similar mechanism was implemented in Kazakhstan back in 2007, when there were recovered 84$ million of proceeds of corruption to the Kazakh people.

Members of the initiative group emphasized that the Ukrainian government, which has publicly announced intention to recover Lazarenko assets, should approach the U.S. government, specifically the Department of Justice, expressing support of the initiative of Ukrainian civic society organizations to establish Independent Foundation.

Coordinators of the initiative believe, that large-scale corruption among high government officials poses serious risks that the assets will be siphoned off and laundered from budget once again. Therefore, it is essential to recover assets to the Independent Charity Foundation for financing targeted social projects.

Daria Kaleniuk, Executive Director of the “Anti-Corruption Action Centre”:

“The government’s attempts to politicize the whole process and link Tymoshenko to the assets of Lazarenko jeopardizes possibility to ever recover these assets to the Ukrainian people. If Ukrainian Government was interested in the result, instead of dubious PR campaigns, it would support the petition of the civic society organizations.

Oleksandr Sushko, expert, Scientific Director of the “Institute of EuroAtlantic Cooperation”:

“This PR wave will work for the Government’s interests until the end of November. Arguments and statements of the Government regarding the issue won’t influence the European partners, who trust court decisions instead of dubious claims of companies-contractors. This media wave will end after the Vilnius summit”.

Linda Candler, Head of “Offshore Investigations”, California based law firm and member of the Board of Directors of the International Association for Asset Recovery:

“The U.S. forfeiture case has been pending since 2004 and it is still not resolved. The reason for the delay is because numerous third parties have filed claims to the seized funds.  These third-party claimants include Pavlo Lazarenko’s children, the Liquidators of Eurofed Bank of Antigua, Gazprom, and UTICo.  The Department of Justice has opposed the claims of these third parties, and has been successful in having many of them dismissed. New third-party claims might cause only delay in getting the Final Order of the court.”

Serhiy Leshchenko, author of journalistic investigation “American saga of Pavlo Lazarenko”

believes one can’t expect a quick decision regarding 250$ million: “Judges in Switzerland and U.S. are not “Radion Kireev”. Therefore, announcement of Klymenko agency has a clear goal to prepare public opinion for Vilnius failure. Pseudo arguments of government are addressed to the MPs of the Party of Regions, who require additional explanations, when on Thursday will fail to vote the Labunska bill, supported by Koks-Kvasnevsky mission.”

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