Asset Recovery Watch

ARW-155
Pavel Lazarenko (United States Civil Asset Forfeiture Case)
Ukraine
Member of Parliament (1998); Prime Minister (1996-1997); First Vice Prime Minister (1995-1996); various government and political positions, Dnepropetrovsk region (1992-1995)
United States
Undertaking Recovery Effort, Location of Recovery Effort
2005
Ongoing
Art.15, Art.17, Art.18, Art.20, Art.23
Yes
Non-Conviction Based Confiscation
Unknown
Investigatory cooperation but exact mechanism unknown
Ongoing Case
Ongoing
Before Court of First Instance
Approximately $271 million and unspecified amounts
Ongoing
N/A

As of June 2016, the case was ongoing against approximately $271 million and additional unspecified amounts held in accounts in financial institutions in Guernsey, Antigua and Barbuda, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Lithuania. (Source: U.S. v. All Assets Held in Julius Baer, et al, Case. No. 1:04-cv-00798-PLF (D.D.C.), Court Docket Report as of June 20, 2016.)

On May 14, 2004, the U.S. filed a civil asset forfeiture suit, seeking to forfeit more than $250 million which the government alleged were illegal proceeds of criminal activities by Mr. Lazarenko and his associates. The U.S. government also alleged that the assets were obtained through the abuse of public office and illegally transported and/or laundered through the abuse of financial institutions in the United States, and were located in in foreign bank accounts in Guernsey, Antigua & Barbuda, Switzerland, Lithuania and Liechtenstein.(Source: U.S. v. All Assets Held in Julius Baer, et al, Case. No. 1:04-cv-00798-PLF (D.D.C.), Verified Claim for Forfeiture In Rem filed on May 14, 2004 and First Amended Verified Claim for Forfeiture In Rem filed on June 30, 2005.) On May 20, 2004, a Restraining Order was issued against the defendant accounts. (Source: U.S. v. All Assets Held in Julis Baer, et al, Case No. 1:04-cv-00798-PLF (D.D.C.), which stipulated that "terms of Order shall remain in full force and effect until the judgment rendered in the case or further Order of the court.") Actions against some of the assets were terminated in June 2005.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice Press Release dated November 19, 2009, Mr. Lazarenko was sentenced to 97 months in prison, subsequent to his conviction on eight counts of money laundering. (Source: U.S. Department of Justice, "Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Sentenced to 97 Months in Prison," November 19, 2009.) According to BBC News, Mr. Lazarenko was convicted in Switzerland, in June 2000, on money laundering charges. (Sources: BBC News, "The case against Lazarenko," August 25, 2006. See also, Swiss court decisions: BGer 125 II 356 (excerpt, judgment of 25 June 1999) and BGer 125 II 238 (excerpt, judgment of 8 April 1999), both of Canton of Geneva, administrative law court).

Prosecutor General
Prosecutor General
Unspecified
Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations
U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia