Asset Recovery Watch

ARW-228
Viktor Yanukovych / Switzerland
Ukraine
President (2010-2014)
Switzerland
Undertaking Recovery Effort, Location of Recovery Effort, Asset Location / Alleged Asset Location
2014
Ongoing
Art.17, Art.19, Art.23
Swiss Federal Council Ordinance
Unknown
Ongoing case
Ongoing
Investigation/Asset Tracing/Asset Restraint
$175,000,000
Ongoing

According to the 2014 Annual Report (published May 2015) by the Swiss Office of the Federal Police, US$175 million in Yanukovych related assets have been frozen in Switzerland.  The report indicated that the funds had passed through accounts in numerous jurisdictions, including Cyprus, British Virgin Islands, Austria, Liechtenstein, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Switzerland.  (Original text, at pages 28-29: "Les renseignements disponibles indiquent un flux de fonds pass ant par de nombreux comptes off-shore, notamment à Chypre et dans les Iles Vierges britanniques ainsi qu’en Autriche, au Liechtenstein, en Grande-Bretagne, aux Pays-Bas et en Suisse. Se concertant avec l’UE, la Suisse a bloqué  préventivement des valeurs patrimoniales à hau- teur de 75 millions de dollars environ appartenant à M. Ianoukovytch et à son entourage, afin de laisser suffisamment de temps aux autorités ukrainiennes de poursuite pénale pour présenter des demandes éventuelles d’entraide judiciaire. Dans le même temps, le MPC et les autorités cantonales genevoises ont ou vert des enquêtes pour abus de confiance, corruption, abus d’autorité et blanchiment d’argent, bloquant à cet égard 100 autres millions de dollars.")

 

An earlier media release by the Swiss Foreign Ministry on February 28, 2014 had stated, "[t]he Federal Council has decided to block all assets Viktor Yanukovych and his entourage might have in Switzerland. The corresponding ordinance enters into force today, Friday 28 February. In taking this measure, the Federal Council wishes to avoid any risk of misappropriation of Ukrainian state assets. [ ] 

 

In view of the most recent developments, the Federal Council wishes to take all measures necessary to avoid the risk of any misappropriation of financial assets of the Ukrainian state. It has therefore decided, in conjunction with other financial centres, to block all assets Viktor Yanukovych and his entourage might have in Switzerland. The Federal Council has also prohibited the sale and any disposal of assets, namely property, of these persons. The aim of this measure is to prevent these assets being taken out of Switzerland before they can be blocked through the ordinary channels of mutual legal assistance in cooperation with the Ukrainian authorities.

 

Should such assets subsequently be proved through criminal proceedings to have been obtained illegally, they can thus be returned to Ukraine following criminal conviction of the former leaders and their entourage. The Swiss authorities are prepared to cooperate closely with the Ukrainian authorities."  (Source: Switzerland Ministry of Foreign Affairs media release, "Federal Council blocks all assets Viktor Yanukovych and his entourage might have in Switzerland," February 28, 2014.)

 

According to the INTEROL wanted list, Mr. Yanukovych is "Wanted by the Judicial Authorities of Ukraine for Prosecution / to serve a sentence" with the following charges listed: "Misappropriation, embezzlement or conversion of property by malversation, if committed in respect of an especially gross amount, or by an organized group."  (Source: INTERPOL, "Viktor Yanukovych," at http://www.interpol.int/notice/search/wanted/2014-13031 (last accessed January 21, 2015). 

Prosecutor General's Office
Office of Federal Police' Ministere Public de la Confederation; Geneva cantonal authorities