Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Ukraine Forum on Asset Recovery Chair’s Statement
Chairs’ statement by the United Kingdom and United States and the Ukraine on the meeting of the Ukraine Forum on Asset Recovery.
The Governments of the United Kingdom and United States, in support of the efforts of the Government of Ukraine, convened the Ukraine Forum on Asset Recovery (UFAR), in London on April 29-30, 2014. It was attended by delegates from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Italy, Japan, Jersey, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, The Netherlands, Panama, Seychelles, Spain, and Switzerland, along with the European Union and with the invaluable support of the Stolen Asset Recovery initiative (StAR) of the World Bank and UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Representatives of the Camden Asset Recovery Interagency Network (CARIN), Council of Europe, EUROJUST, EBRD, EUROPOL, INTERPOL, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and representatives of civil society also participated.
Participating countries commended the commitment by the Government of Ukraine to prioritise the investigation of corruption by members and associates of the Yanukovych regime. Participants recognised that the recovery of the proceeds of corruption through international cooperation is essential in helping restore integrity and public trust in government, and in sending a strong message that there can be no impunity for those who abuse their official positions. Assets misappropriated by kleptocrats in the Yanukovych government represent assets that should have been used for the benefit of the Ukrainian people.
Senior government officials alongside policy makers, judicial experts, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, financial intelligence analysts, and regulators participated in UFAR. Bilateral meetings between Ukrainian officials and other delegations were an important feature of UFAR in helping to identify concrete actions necessary to advance asset recovery efforts. The forum was conducted in a spirit of openness, collaboration, mutual respect, and urgent resolve.
Participants agreed that we have a shared responsibility to recover assets stolen from the Ukrainian people or that were derived from public corruption in Ukraine. Discussion over the two days recognised that progress already had been made as a result of the Forum’s work, both in its preparation and during the meetings. In particular, participants valued:
the steps taken by countries to improve their domestic coordination to ensure that all the bodies of government share a common set of priorities, work towards a shared strategy, and improve the sharing of information domestically.
the advancement of investigations bilaterally and multilaterally.
the important role played by pre-MLA international cooperation through asset recovery practitioner networks. Contacts between police agencies, prosecutorial offices, and Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) were thought to be particularly valuable.
the publication of Asset Recovery Guides, in Ukrainian, by many States to support an increased understanding of their asset recovery tools.
the proactive approach being taken to asset recovery. Participants recognized the need to engage in cooperation between law enforcement authorities even before formal mutual legal assistance is requested. Corrupt officials and their cronies who launder their proceeds abroad not only violate the public trust of the community they serve but undermine the integrity of the financial systems outside their nations. Pre-MLA cooperation saves time and significantly increases the chances of success of these investigations.
efforts by several countries to review their legal frameworks to benefit from best practices in other jurisdictions and to ensure they can act diligently, effectively and efficiently on asset recovery. Strong legal frameworks and respect for the rule of law and due process are paramount – both for preventing corruption and money laundering, and recovering assets.
commitments by G-7 countries and other jurisdictions to take steps to require that companies obtain and hold information on their true beneficial owners and ensure that this information is available in a timely fashion to law enforcement, tax collection agencies and other relevant authorities. Transparency and shared responsibility are vital elements in our approaches to asset recovery.
Participants pledged to ensure that technical assistance is on-going and continues to be available to assist Ukraine in efforts to recover the proceeds of corruption. Participants reaffirmed that key topics for technical assistance should include asset recovery strategies, domestic coordination, complex financial investigations assistance, asset tracing, asset freezing and confiscation, requesting international assistance, asset recovery and seized and confiscated asset management, and other topics identified by Ukraine.
Participants agreed that successful asset recovery cases are complex and take time, no matter how high the political will among nations. Participants agreed that success on asset recovery will require that the strong political commitment seen at the UFAR be sustained and translated into practical action. We also recognised that asset recovery will not be successful without legal and institutional mechanisms that facilitate domestic coordination and ensure that the channels for both informal international cooperation and formal mutual legal assistance ensure an efficient and expedient exchange of critical information and assistance. To facilitate these efforts, we recognised the value of legal and institutional reform to promoting successful asset recovery efforts as well as regular contact between practitioners to facilitate and accelerate the actual provision of assistance.
Participants look forward to continuing this critical work as a sign of the enduring partnership between our countries and our support for the political transition in Ukraine.
Follow the Foreign Office on Twitter.
Latest News from
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Sweden joins UK ocean protection campaign19/02/2020 16:14:00
Minister Zac Goldsmith sets out ambition to make world's ocean more resilient to climate change through '30by30' global coalition.
British nationals on the Diamond Princess: Foreign Office statement18/02/2020 16:20:00
The FCO is working to organise a flight back to the UK for British nationals on the Diamond Princess in Japan, following the outbreak of coronavirus.
Additional sanctions increase pressure on Assad regime and its backers18/02/2020 12:25:00
On Monday 17 February new sanctions were imposed by the EU on a further 8 business people and 2 entities who have helped prop up the destructive Syrian regime.
UK Minister discusses conflict in Libya at Munich Security Conference17/02/2020 14:10:00
Minister of State James Cleverly has discussed the ongoing conflict in Libya with international partners in the margins of the Munich Security Conference.
Supporting the democratic process in Guinea-Bissau17/02/2020 11:10:00
Statement given recently (14 February 2020) by David Clay, UK Political Coordinator at the UN, at the Security Council briefing on Guinea-Bissau.
Troika Statement: Compromise essential to timely formation of South Sudan’s Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity12/02/2020 16:20:00
The following statement was issued jointly by the Governments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and the Kingdom of Norway.
Negotiations are the only path to peace for the Israelis and Palestinians12/02/2020 14:10:00
Statement given yesterday by Ambassador Karen Pierce, UK Permanent Representative to the UN, at the United Nations Security Council briefing on the Middle East.
UK statement to the WTO Committee on Trade and Development - 48th Session on Aid for Trade11/02/2020 16:20:00
The UK's Ambassador to the WTO and UN in Geneva, Julian Braithwaite, delivered a statement to the WTO Committee on Trade and Development during the 48th Session on Aid for Trade on 11 February 2020.