Al Jazeera published the full text of the decision by the Kramatorsk court which ruled to seize USD 1.5 billion worth of assets formerly belonging to Viktor Yanukovych, according to the allegations of the Prosecutor General’s Office. It was preceded by the channel’s journalist investigation of oligarchs buying and selling the arrested and seized assets of the former president. Transparency International Ukraine has been demanding to publish this court decision in the Unified State Register of Court Decisions as prescribed by the law since May of 2017. The Prosecutor General’s Office created an artificial mystery around the document. It resulted in foreign journalists publishing the court decision including all personal information of the individual who had made an agreement with the investigation.
The authenticity of the text published by the journalists is yet to be verified. However, everyone is free to assess both the document’s credibility and the legal stance of the prosecution and the court (working under the assumption that the text matches the original).
We believe that the role of schemes of legalizing the income of ICU management, a company whose clients include President Poroshenko, requires additional study and evaluation. Risks of possible return of the seized funds from the Ukrainian budget if the national or international court institutions were to grant the requests made by lawyers of the owners of the seized assets should be assessed as well.
Taking into account the aforementioned, TI Ukraine urges Ukrainian officials to do the following:
Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yurii Lutsenko, urgently:
- to make an official statement regarding the document published by Al Jazeera journalists and confirm or contest its authenticity, as well as explain what information precisely had to be protected so much that the court decision had to be hidden from the public for over 8 months;
- to announce and substantiate the stance of the Prosecutor General’s Office concerning legitimacy of the use of special seizure procedure in this case;
Head of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Andrii Parubii:
to initiate the establishment of a parliamentary investigative commission to investigate the legitimacy of actions of the Prosecutor General’s Office and Military Prosecutor’s Office of ATO Forces.