On June 18, the Verkhovna Rada is scheduled to consider draft law No. 3335-1, which will significantly affect the work of the Asset Recovery and Management Agency. Despite certain reservations and recommendations, Transparency International Ukraine calls on MPs to vote for this document.
The initiative has a number of positive aspects. Namely:
- After the adoption of the law, ARMA will become a participant in criminal proceedings and will be involved in preparing the transfer of property to management.
- A clear and transparent mechanism for asset sales will be developed.
- Persons involved in criminal proceedings will not be able to block the Agency’s work so easily through questionable court decisions.
At the same time, we urge MPs to make critical changes between the first and second reading.
- The Law should provide guarantees to asset buyers. All cases of the Agency are sensitive and carry certain risks. For the sale of property to be effective and take place at market prices, and for buyers to be interested in such assets, guarantees should be in place. A buyer should understand that if he or she buys property, it will not be returned to the previous owner eventually.
- The Court should have an opportunity to review motions on asset transfer to the ARMA without notifying the asset owner if there is a risk of asset destruction or alienation. Notifying the owner on the possible asset transfer to the ARMA may lead to disposal, destruction or transformation of the asset.
- The minimum value of assets to be transferred to the ARMA should not be increased almost twice, to 500 minimum living wages. This will allow corrupt officials to use and control the products of their criminal activities which cost less than UAH 1 million. The owners will also be able to avoid transferring assets to the ARMA, for instance, by undervaluing them.
Transparency International Ukraine is open to dialogue and fruitful cooperation to make working with seized assets profitable for the state, asset owners and businesses that are ready to manage them.