It will take years to return funds illegally taken abroad by ex-President Viktor Yanukovych and his entourage, Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko has said.
"I will be open: those things that concern the funds arrested in Ukraine – of companies and persons – the issue will be settled quicker as this is competence of our national law-enforcement agencies, which can take measures to expropriate them. As for the funds in other countries, the process will be longer. We cannot deceive the public that the money will be returned in two or three months. These are issues of several years, and not months," Petrenko said at a press conference on Monday.
He said that there had been mass robbery and embezzlement from the national and local budgets, suing schemes in which transnational corporations were involved.
"Just according to the preliminary calculations made by the new government, UAH 290 billion was withdrawn from the national budget last year. Taking into account state guarantees, the hidden deficit totals around UAH 800 billion, including the private sector," he said.
The minister said that the large sums that were funneled into the shadow economy and the pockets of high officials.
"The issue of the quick return of the funds and punishment of persons who were involved in this and executed the schemes is fundamental for the new government," he added.
He said that an ad hoc group, which includes representatives of the Prosecutor General's Office, law-enforcement agencies and the Justice Ministry, is tackling the task. There are first preliminary data on the schemes of withdrawing budget funds in the state sector of around UAH 65 billion, in which 12 ministries were involved. According to the public data, around $100 billion was withdrawn abroad by the entourage of Yanukovych and some of it in cash. According to the public information, around $2 billion is blocked in Switzerland and the European Union and the United States introduced personal sanctions against concrete persons (from 20 to 25 people).
The minister said that it is difficult to present the more concrete data as the countries do not present such information until the crime is finally confirmed.'via Blog this'