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Dominic Kavakeb
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Aleksandr Lapko discusses wartime corruption in Ukraine and the dilemma it led him to face this summer: pay a $2,000 bribe to get the military equipment that could save his life or pay a $2,000 bribe to be declared unfit for service.

Today, further economic sanctions on Russia were announced. But what is the value of freezing assets and imposing travel bans as sanctions – and should they be used in fight against corruption too? 

Last week, the government co-hosted with the US government a conference on Ukraine, in London’s Lancaster House. The focus was on how to get back the money stolen by corrupt officials in the former regime – and their cronies among the oligarchs.

Since the situation in Ukraine turned from protests, to revolution, to diplomatic crisis, we’ve been bombarded with analysis in the media and responses from an array of world leaders – and rightly so. The events have exposed both the endemic corruption and disregard for human rights of the Yanukovych regime, and the Ukrainian people’s stance against this injustice has left hundreds dead and seriously injured. 

As the UK Government meets with international partners today to discuss asset freezes and travel bans in relation to Russian’s involvement in the Ukraine crisis, we’re waiting in anticipation for information on what action they decide to take.

As the Crimea crisis has developed, there have been calls to freeze Russian and Ukrainian assets in the UK.

It was reported in Tuesday’s Financial Times that Ukraine is seeking $35 billion in foreign aid. Why does it need the money? As more evidence emerges of the kleptocratic nature of the former regime, it seems that gross mismanagement of the economy by a corrupt elite is one of the reasons.

The fast-moving events of the past few days in Ukraine have shown the depth of anger over the violence and corruption of the regime of Viktor Yanukovych and his cronies. There may now be early elections, and Yanukovych has fled, but this alone will not heal the wounds of the past few years.

TI-UK has today issued a risk alert on corrupt assets from Ukraine which may be laundered into or through the UK. The alert is targeted at the UK government and Money Laundering Reporting Officers in financial institutions, law and accountancy firms and luxury estate agents in the UK.

To mark UN Anti-Corruption Day this week, TI-UK are paying tribute to our Transparency International colleagues around the world who operate in environments where anti-corruption work is incredibly challenging and often dangerous.

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