UK to host international meeting on stolen Ukrainian assets

LONDON Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:15am BST

Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May arrives for a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street in London March 18, 2014. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May arrives for a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street in London March 18, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

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LONDON (Reuters) - London will host a two-day international meeting this week aimed at helping Ukraine's government to recover stolen assets, Britain's interior ministry said on Monday.

Since the toppling of President Viktor Yanukovich in February, Ukrainian prosecutors have accused him and his aides of stealing billions of dollars. Yanukovich has said he has no foreign bank accounts or property abroad.

The April 29-30 Ukraine Forum on Asset Recovery, jointly organised by Britain and the United States, will be attended by senior government officials, judicial experts, prosecutors, financial intelligence analysts and regulators.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will be among those meeting in London.

"Building on our expertise in the field of asset recovery, it will also provide practical leadership and assistance to the Ukrainian government as they identify and recover assets looted under the Yanukovich regime and introduce political and economic reform," British Home Secretary Theresa May said.

London is the top destination for money from the former Soviet Union and many Ukrainian oligarchs have assets there.

Last month, Britain said it had been given a list of people suspected of being involved in the theft of Ukrainian assets and that it would send a team to Kiev to seek further evidence.

The Home Office (interior ministry) said that as well as planning practical steps for Ukraine, the meeting would work on international cooperation for the early tracing of assets and look at ways to trace assets hidden behind complex corporate structures.

"The message is clear - we are making it harder than ever for corrupt regimes or individuals around the world to move, hide and profit from the proceeds of their crime," said May.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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