Ukrainian Justice Ministry: $30 billion was stolen during Yanukovych's reign

The Minister of Justice of Ukraine, Pavlo Petrenko, introducing the draft law on amendments to certain legislative acts of Ukraine regarding the recovery of unwarranted assets, stated that between $20 and $30 billion were stolen over the incomplete four years of Viktor Yanukovych’s regime, Ukrinform reported.

“According to various estimates of experts and law enforcement agencies, between $20 and $30 billion were withdrawn and stolen from the country’s budget over the incomplete four years of Yanukovych’s regime,” Petrenko said.

“All this can be seen from direct evidence as well as from situations that took place in early 2014, when the hole in the budget was UAH 290 billion of those funds, which were recorded in the accounts of local authorities and the general fund of the state budget. But, as a matter of fact, those funds weren’t there,” the minister explained.

According to Petrenko, the scale of corruption schemes on withdrawal of funds from Ukraine’s budgetary sector shocked international experts and law enforcement officers.

The Ukrainian law enforcement system is now facing the challenge of returning the maximum amount of funds that were stolen by Yanukovych’s gang. Pavlo Petrenko noted that these funds are in Ukrainian and foreign banks. The Minister of Justice of Ukraine recalled that the government has already seized more than $1.5 billion in off-shore accounts recorded in the state banks.

“However, we have failed to achieve the results that the Ukrainian community expects from us due to the weakness of the law enforcement system during the first months after the Revolution of Dignity. As of today, there is no regime of special confiscation in Ukraine that would provide an opportunity to rapidly return these funds [$1.5 billion] to the state budget,” Petrenko added.

The minister recalled that the corresponding draft laws have already been put to vote eight times in the Ukrainian Parliament, but the decision is still pending.

  Ukraine, Yanukovich, Corruption