Switzerland has launched administrative proceedings to confiscate over USD 100 million in assets linked to the regime of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, with the ultimate aim of returning these to Ukraine.

The assets are 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.

The crypto industry has exploded in recent years, and authorities in different countries have been reacting in very different ways. Some have banned cryptocurrencies, while others are embracing them to varying degrees. Some are working hard to align their anti-money laundering regulations with FATF standards, while others are turning a blind eye. A few countries have confiscated huge quantities of crypto assets linked to crime and money laundering.

At a high-profile speech at the Ukraine 30 Forum last week, the Basel Institute's Managing Director Gretta Fenner emphasised that it is critical that Ukraine swiftly and professionally concludes the asset recovery processes started after the Revolution of Dignity. She also urged the country to fully empower its anti-corruption institutions and reduce the hurdles that have been put in their ways. High levels of corruption continue to drain the country's resources and threaten its democracy.

Corruption remains high in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Governments have undertaken many reforms to tackle corruption. However, empirical data and perception surveys show a poor enforcement track record and that countries have not fully aligned their laws with the international standards. This report takes stock of the actions that countries in the region took to address corruption since 2016. It identifies progress achieved as well as remaining challenges that require further action by countries.

A fresh agreement between the Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG) in Ukraine and the Basel Institute on Governance, signed in Kyiv on 2 February 2021, sets the stage for a continued fruitful cooperation on the country’s asset recovery efforts.

The agreement supports the efforts of the OPG to recover assets belonging to Ukraine that were illegally appropriated by former high-ranking officials and related individuals and legal entities.

The training team of the International Centre for Asset Recovery last week delivered an intensive Advanced Operational Analysis training programme to 20 anti-corruption practitioners in Ukraine. This was the first time our ICAR training team has delivered a virtual workshop that involved both complex group work and simultaneous interpreting, and we are pleased to say that it went flawlessly.

This study by the OECD focuses on the ingredients for a successful High-Level Reporting Mechanism (HLRM) to tackle bribery solicitation and other reports of unfair business practices in public tenders.

It covers the methodology and scope of HLRMs, explores its use cases and looks at case studies in Colombia, Argentina, Ukraine and Peru. It then covers 9 key ingredients to the successful implementation of a HLRM.

This brief overview of the High Level Reporting Mechanism explains what the HLRM is and how it is designed to address bribery solicitation, suspicious behaviour and other similar concerns in public tenders. It includes a list of benefits of the HLRM plus short case studies from Ukraine and Colombia.

Switzerland and Ukraine’s Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG) and National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) have signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding on the occasion of the visit of the Swiss President to Kyiv.

Formally signed on 21 July, the MoU is the basis for the continued engagement of our International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR) with these two Ukrainian institutions in the fight against corruption.