News / Europe

    Washington React: FBI Helps Ukraine Recover Stolen Billions

    Ukraine's fugitive President Viktor Yanukovych gives a news conference in Rostov-on-Don, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014
    Ukraine's fugitive President Viktor Yanukovych gives a news conference in Rostov-on-Don, Friday, Feb. 28, 2014
    FBI and U.S. Treasury agents have arrived in Kyiv to aid Ukraine’s interim leaders to uncover the financial crimes of the government of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych in an effort to repatriate billions of dollars.
     
    Ukraine's new government is determined to recover some of the billions of dollars it says went missing during Yanukovych’s regime.

    And Washington is eager to assist.

    “We are very interested in working with the government to support its investigations of those financial crimes, and we have already, on the ground here in Ukraine, experts from the FBI, the Department of Justice and the Department of Treasury who are working with their Ukrainian counterparts to support the Ukrainian investigation,” U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt told reporters here on Monday.
     
    According to Ukrainian officials more than $20 billion of gold reserves may have been embezzled and $37 billion in loans has disappeared.  In the past three years more than $70 billion was moved to offshore accounts from Ukraine’s financial system.
     
    The country needs all the cash it can recover as it labors with debts of $75 billion.  Ukraine’s currency, the hryvnia, has lost more than 20 percent of its value this year.  With the revolution and political turmoil, the economy is limping along.

    An International Monetary Fund team is in Ukraine negotiating the details of a $15 billion-package for the struggling economy.  The United States is providing $1 billion in loan guarantees to help restore financial stability.

    The American ambassador says the United States is not the only country trying to help recover stolen funds.
     
    “There are a variety of other governments who are also interested in this through the international financial networks to uncover the financial crimes committed by the previous regime and to see what can be done to recuperate some of those assets,” Pyatt said.
     
    But while Ukrainian authorities, with the assistance of outsiders, scour the books and analyze digital data in a bid to pick up the money trails, some Ukrainians worry that those who had a hand in aiding and abetting the pillaging of the country are being given government jobs.
     
    The interim government has appointed some of the country’s oligarchs as regional governors.  Opposition lawmaker and rights activist Lesya Orobets is not delighted with the picks.
     
    “I am not comfortable with those appointments, but I do see common sense in that,” Orobets said. “We have to appoint those people who, acting together with the interim government before the presidential elections, will gain the control of the country.  This is very important.”
     
    Orobets is comforting herself with the knowledge that there is not much left to steal and hopes the oligarchs will use this as an opportunity to be responsible.
     
    “The previous regime has already stolen everything,” she said. “This is a big chance for them to show they can behave differently.”
     
    But one of the grassroots leaders of the Maidan revolution, Sergey Poyarkov, warns loans given now by the United States or European countries should be closely monitored.
     
    “If you give some money, control the money,” he said. “And you should demand that any payment for anyone should be openly visible on the website of the ministry or that department.  That is the only way your money will not be stolen.”
     
    The interim government has appointed Tetyana Chornovol, an investigative journalist who was nearly beaten to death in December for her reporting, to lead the effort to recover the stolen billions.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: john from: ocala, fl
    March 11, 2014 2:10 PM
    Funny ...how Merkel was hiding in the shadows, recently, seemingly afraid to alienate Putin.Now that she has been assured that hr gold delivery is on the way, she's back in public view, denouncing Putin for HIS destabilization of the Ukraine and other assorted nonsense. Interesting how a big shipment of shiny gold bars can have such a profound affect on one's politics....

    by: Anonymous from: Sweden
    March 11, 2014 12:56 PM
    This article is laughable. It is already well reported that Ukraine's gold was loaded on a plane and flown to New York to the Federal Reserve. Now the U.S. is trying to cover their act of theft by blaming the prior government of the Ukraine for the "missing gold" which they stole. .
    In Response

    by: Patski from: United States of America
    March 13, 2014 11:14 PM
    Anonymous?

    by: James from: Oxford, England
    March 11, 2014 12:10 PM
    What is it with the US and other peoples' gold? Strange how the FBI is assisting in locating Ukraine's bullion but not lifting a finger to facilitate the return of Germany's 1000 tons - meaning it has effectively been stolen by the US. Trusting the US with your gold is akin to putting a fox in charge of the hen house or, in this case, a bullion thief in charge of your bullion - never a wise course of action.

    by: john from: ocala, fl
    March 11, 2014 10:57 AM
    If the FBI / US "assisted" in the heist of this gold, the idea that it went to Yanukovych is absurd. The West, especially the Fed, is desperate...and I mean desperate...for gold. The German repatriation scandal needs to be kept in check and deliverating this gold to Germany is critical. Every time there is a repatriation request from a soverign central bank, there is an invasion followed by a gold heist, followed by this delivery. Veneuzeula got it's gold from the US invasion of Libya. Germany got the first install of it's gold from the invasion of Mali,,,but raised eyebrows because of it's meager size. mark my words, the US will somehow magically find a way to make the next delivery to Germany.
    In Response

    by: john from: ocala, fl
    March 11, 2014 4:33 PM
    Of course Yanukovych stole lots of money. Lots of it. But getting the US to "help" track it down is laughable. The US does takes what it wants...and right now what it wants and needs is the Ukraine's gold and anything else it can loot from this conflict. The US spent 25billion so far destabilizing Ukraine. I can assure you of 3 things...1) the US feels enetitled to anything it can grab 2) the US will grab anything b4 Russia has a chance to and 3) there is nothing little Ukraine can do about it later when it realizes later that the US has stuck it to them.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 11, 2014 1:51 PM
    Yanukovic didn't buy that nice house with savings from his piggy bank.

    by: Simonzee1 from: Australia
    March 10, 2014 9:37 PM
    This is quite fitting for a coup leader and Obama to have a pow-wow. Two people who talk of democracy but undermine the principles thereof.This visit is just more Obama swag...more smoke and mirrors from a president that would love the "Hollywood" sign placed above the statue of Liberty, "Hollywood best represents American values" he says. Well he is right in his own mind as he gives us a great mix of fiction mixed with non-fiction storylines..Meanwhile back in the real world....the real what they call... "Water Shed in Modern History" is Libya with America, France and Britain...and Johnny-come-lately Germany exercising their mission creep and murder. That opened the floodgates of a new arms race...Nations now know if they do not have nuclear weapons their sovereignty at any moment could be kicked to the wayside.The Ukraine is as successul for the West in sending other troubling messages like..."If you don't like your government have a coup." Much worse that "If you like your health plan you can keep it."Following the example in the Ukraine protestors in Libya took you up on your version of international law and started shooting MP's and storming Congress. Clearly....undeniably... after "Libya"... NATO...the E.U and the U.N has very little credibility.As I said before those 67% of Americans who as it stands, would like to throw their lawmakers to the street if they could, may wish to consider the option when their gas bills become unaffordable as vast amounts of gas are exported to Europe to play cold war games. What did Obama say to Romney..."Hhhh...the cold war ended 20 years ago." Well he is in a hurry to bring it back after the Libyan mission creep and the supporting of a coup with the E.U. Just look at the current state of Libya. I'm sure Putin will do a better job with Crimea but I think the E.U and America are determined for the Ukraine to become another Libya. If they cannot have it all they will wreck it all. That's their legacy folks just look at the middle-east.By the way...read the history of Henry VII because he set the template of rule and the powerstructures for modern Europe in the form of the E.U. It is important to say that England breathed a sigh of relief when Henry VII reign was over
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 11, 2014 1:52 PM
    you should get back on your meds

    by: Anonymous
    March 10, 2014 8:28 PM
    I would put money on the missing money being taken by Viktor Yanukovych, and some of which lined Putins pockets. Thats just my first opinion.

    by: Anonymous
    March 10, 2014 8:25 PM
    You know the only reason Putin sent "Masked" and "Unidentifiable" troops without any markings, is obviously because he was afraid to display the men are proud of what they are doing. Obviously they could not use the Russian insignia on their uniforms because it would be such a disgrace to the Nation of Russia what they are doing. Instead Putin takes the "Thugs" approach, gangster style, which is unnacceptable, and illegal.

    It's time the world steps on Putins toes, hard. Show Putin his idiotic acts will not be tolerated in 2014. He is probably pissed off that nobody showed up for Sochi, because everyone boycotted it. Now the world will boycott Russia even more... We the world love Russian people however the leader is the problem, not just for the world but also for Russians. Russian people should not be penalized for Putins actions. This is why the Russians should do what is best for Russia and world peace, and that is to overthrow Putin, take to the streets.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    March 31, 2014 6:05 PM
    And you'll be the one stepping on his toes?

    by: Martin Edwin Andersen from: Churchton, Maryland
    March 10, 2014 6:23 PM
    A new twist in Ukraine of the phrase, "show me the money." ... For a former Foreign Relations Committee professional staff member working for the late Senator Alan Cranston, who pushed hard to establish FBI legal attache offices east of Vienna following the fall of the Berlin Wall, this move is key.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.