A high-level international meeting to support the Government of Ukraine in recovering stolen assets began on 29 April 2014 in London. The gathering is a landmark for Ukraine in underscoring the rule of law and international cooperation. The international community and the Government of Ukraine are united in their commitment and determination in returning stolen assets to the people of Ukraine.
The Ukraine Forum on Asset Recovery (UFAR) is jointly organized by the United Kingdom and the United States of America in support of efforts by the Government of Ukraine, to recover stolen assets. Asset recovery is essential in stopping those who have stolen assets from benefitting from their crimes, and in sending a strong message that there can be no impunity for those who carry out such illegal actions. The two-day meeting brings together representatives of key international financial centers and international organizations to bolster collective action, foster direct exchange between practitioners and plan practical steps towards this goal. Key objectives include:
• reaffirming the political commitment of the international community in tracing and recovering stolen assets
• facilitating international cooperation for the early tracing of such assets
• enabling sharing of best practices, lessons learned and available tools
• addressing ways of tracing assets hidden behind complex corporate structures
• facilitating networking and trust-building among practitioners across jurisdictions
• identifying specific capacity building needs for Ukraine.
Senior government officials alongside policy makers, judicial experts, prosecutors, financial intelligence analysts, and regulators are participating in UFAR. Bilateral meetings between Ukrainian officials and other delegations will be an important feature of UFAR in helping to identify concrete actions to be taken to advance asset recovery.
In hosting UFAR in London, the British Home Secretary, the Right Hon Theresa May MP, stressed the importance of the international community’s role in assisting Ukraine:
“By taking urgent and immediate steps to provide political and economic stability, the UK, US and wider international community has already demonstrated a strong commitment to the people of Ukraine. This forum provides a further opportunity to show our ongoing support.
“Building on our expertise in the field of asset recovery, it will also provide practical leadership and assistance to the Ukrainian government as they identify and recover assets looted under the Yanukovych regime and introduce political and economic reform.
“The message is clear – we are making it harder than ever for corrupt regimes or individuals around the world to move, hide and profit from the proceeds of their crime.”
Attorney General Eric Holder of the United States, which is jointly organizing UFAR, emphasized the importance of asset recovery in bringing justice and in mobilizing against corruption:
“This community of nations stands united in our determination to support Ukrainian leaders and citizens as they combat corruption and strive to ensure the stability, the independence, and the national sovereignty of a strong and free Ukraine. We know that the costs of corruption can be immense and long-lasting. That is why, within days of the fall of President Yanukovych’s regime, the U.S. Department of Justice had a response team on the ground in Kyiv to assess the needs of Ukraine’s investigation into any stolen assets belonging to its people; to provide assistance with document review and preservation; and to help initiate and coordinate any and all efforts required by further investigations. The United States will never stop fighting alongside Ukraine and its partners to ensure accountability, to strengthen transnational cooperation, and to meet instability with resolve – and robust diplomacy.”