Case Study 10: Using full legal means to confiscate illicit assets in a time of war

This case study describes how Switzerland is putting to test a rarely used but powerful law in order to confiscate assets connected to Ukraine’s 2014 Revolution of Dignity, with the aim of returning these to Ukraine.

Key points:

  • Switzerland is in the midst of administrative proceedings to confiscate around CHF 130 million in assets linked to the regime of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. 
  • This case study examines the first of a series of cases concerned by these proceedings. Announced in May 2022, it involves over CHF 100 million in assets held by a close associate of the former president, Yuriy Ivanyushchenko and his family. They have been frozen in Switzerland since Yanukovych was deposed in Ukraine’s 2014 Revolution of Dignity.
  • These efforts are significant as they may allow the return of assets to the people of Ukraine at a time of immense need.
  • Just as importantly though, the move demonstrates how states can proactively seek ways to use their full legal toolkit to confiscate illicit assets linked to political exposed persons and ensure they are put to good use.
  • It also demonstrates how states have opportunities to strengthen their adoption and use of established asset recovery mechanisms to interrupt the type of kleptocracies that have enabled the war in Ukraine in the first place. 

Open-access licence and acknowledgements

This publication is part of the Basel Institute on Governance Case Study series, ISSN 2813-3900. It is licensed for sharing under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence.

The Case Study series offers practitioners insights into interesting and precedent-setting cases involving corruption and asset recovery. Many such cases are drawn from partner countries of the Basel Institute's International Centre for Asset Recovery.

Suggested citation: International Centre for Asset Recovery. 2023. “Using full legal means to confiscate illicit assets in a time of war." Case Study 10, Basel Institute on Governance. Available at:

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Case study 10 cover page
Date published
Basel Institute on Governance