Anna Karenina and the assault rifle

PEPs = high risk = EDD.  But why?  The short answer is corruption: anyone with access to public influence and/or public money will be a target for criminals who want to gain that access for themselves.  Of course, the majority of PEPs – perhaps, on a good day, the vast majority – are perfectly decent, honest, law-abiding people.  And one of the ways to get them to demonstrate this is to ask them to declare their assets, along with an explanation of how they acquired them.  After all, some PEPs come from wealthy families, and some have successful and lucrative careers before they turn to public service.  But others…

Ukraine decided to tackle this and, as part of an IMF-backed anti-corruption drive, required all of its senior public officials to make an online declaration (to a publicly searchable database) of their 2015 assets and income by 30 October 2016.  Eye-opening doesn’t begin to describe the results, in a country where the average salary is just over $200 per month.  Prime Minister Voldymyr Groysman revealed that he and his wife had a total of US$1.2 million and 460,000 euros in cash and a collection of luxury watches.  Brothers Bohdan and Yaroslav Dubnevych – close associates of President Petro Poroshenko – have over $26 million, also in cash only.  Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko, who declared $1 million in a bank account and a further $500,000 in cash, said his colleagues’ preference for cash was due to a mistrust in banks: “Of course to EU countries it seems uncivilised that people hold cash.  But it is linked to the fact that the banking system could, let’s say, be doing better.  This is a problem for many Ukrainians who lost their savings in the bank.”

The people of Ukraine have been astonished by the lavish lifestyle of their leaders.  Vitaliy Shabunin, head of the non-governmental Anti-Corruption Action Centre (ACAC), said: “We did not expect that this would be such a widespread phenomenon among state officials.  I can’t imagine there is a European politician who invests money in a wine collection where one bottle costs over $10,000.”  He was referring to opposition lawmaker Mikhail Dobkin, who declared 1,780 bottles of wine and an antique edition of “Anna Karenina” worth at least $5,500.  Roman Nasirov, head of the State Fiscal Service, coughed to Swiss watches, diamond jewellery, fur coats, fine porcelain, crystal glassware, an assault rifle, and cash in euros and dollars worth $2.2 million.  Oleh Lyashko, the head of the populist Radical party who has styled himself as a representative of the common man, admitted to having over $1 million in cash.  The ACAC says it will now start verifying the declarations but, with over 100,000 forms submitted, and source of wealth enquiries being what they are, it may take some time.

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4 Responses to Anna Karenina and the assault rifle

  1. Roy McCarthy says:

    Meanwhile the English football authorities happily wave in foreign owners – 57% of the top two divisions at the last count. No doubt there are waterproof checks over the provenance of the incoming wealth.

  2. Sue Shelley says:

    Great article Sue. What’s also extremely interesting, is the link between Poroshenko and the US Government….put another way, I can’t see the USA denying him banking facilities anytime soon 🤔

  3. Indeed, Sue – there is always a political dimension to what is tolerated, and where. Ho hum. But glad you enjoyed reading about it!
    Best wishes from Sue

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