Tag Archives: corruption

EU allocates €119M to Ukraine

The EU provides additional  million for accountable and efficient governance in Ukraine and to step up its support to the Sea of Azov region.

The EU-Ukraine Summit recognised the substantial progress made by Ukraine in its reform process, and agreed on the importance of accelerating these efforts, in particular in the fight against corruption. The EU has also showed clear solidarity with the country facing continuous challenges in the East including in the Sea of Azov region.

In the margins of the Summit, the Commission adopted new measures to support decentralisation, fight against corruption, empowerment of civil society and accountable and efficient governance in Ukraine as well as to alleviate the humanitarian situation and promoting economic opportunities for the people living in the Sea of Azov region.

The package will include a €40 million programme on decentralisation, a €15 million programme to fight corruption, a €10 million programme to support civil society and a €44 million programme for the facilitation of key reforms and the implementation of the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. The support to anti-corruption efforts and de-centralisation reforms are additional contributions to already successfully ongoing EU flagship programmes U-LEAD with Europe and EU Anti-Corruption Initiative (EUACI).

Transparency International’s recent Corruption Perceptions Index ranks Ukraine 120th out of 182 countries, the place shared with African Mali.

 

Bulgaria minister resigns over EU funds misuse

Bulgarian Minister of Agriculture Rumen Porozhanov (pictured) resigned in an aftermath of scandals involving purchases of luxury properties and the building of guest houses with EU aid for private use.

Porozhanov did not quite immediately after the scandal eruption, but  two weeks after prosecutors launched a large-scale probe into possible fraud with EU rural development aid at over 700 guest houses.

Bulgarian media reported that Porozhanov bought a spacious apartment in 2004 at substantially below market price. Other reports said he had failed to properly declare real estate deals carried out by his spouse in 2017.

Porozhanov has denied any wrongdoing and told Prime Minister Boyko Borissov he resigned to avoid attacks against him to influence the functioning of the center-right government, its press office said in a statement.

Porozhanov was in charge of the multi-million State Agriculture Fund aimed to support agriculture.

A deputy economy minister had to quit his post last month and facing charges of crimes against the financial interest of the EU after media reports said he and his family were the only users of an expensive holiday estate built with EU aid.

Notorious for its corruption, Bulgaria is an absolute black-list leader among  the EU member states according to the 2018 Corruption Perception Index by Transparency International. Despite numerous political pledges to reduce graft, the state has yet to sentence a high-level officials over corruption, and misuseB of public funds.

 

 

 

Tymoshenko confronts Ukraine President with impeachment

Ukrainian presidential candidate, former prime minister and leader of the Batkivshchyna (‘Fatherland‘) party, Yulia Tymoshenko, expressed confidence that the incumbent head of state, Petro Poroshenko, will not be able avoid responsibility after the upcoming March 31 elections.

“I would like to appeal to Poroshenko and his criminal circle,” Tymoshenko said at a briefing on March, 1. “Nothing will help you – no bribes and no falsifications. You will assume responsibility for the crimes you have committed against Ukraine. And no one will let you leave the country and hide in other countries. You will be assume for every penny that was stolen from the people of Ukraine. “

Tymoshenko accuses incumbent President of abuse of administrative resources during the election campaign, bribing voters, and illegal use of the media during campaigning.

In addition, this week Ukrainian journalists unveiled the results of an investigation into frauds in defense procurement that lead to the closest circle of President Petro Poroshenko, in particular, to his longtime business partner, First Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleg Gladkovsky and the state defence concern “Ukroboronprom“.

On the basis of a journalistic investigation, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine has already opened a criminal case on embezzlement of state funds on exceptionally large scale. As follow Tymoshenko announced the beginning of the impeachment procedure against the current head of state.

Ukrainian anti-corruption activist died after acid attack

Anti-corruption campaigner Kateryna (Katya) Gandzyuk, injured in an acid attack in July, died in a hospital, supporters and the Ukrainian government confirmed.

Katya is dead. Details will be available in a while,” posted a Facebook group that publishes updates about Gandzyuk‘s health and news on the investigation into the crime.

President Petro Poroshenko confirmed the news and offered condolences to Gandzyuk‘s relatives at a meeting with representatives of the Ukrainian community in Turkey’s Antalya, where he is on an official visit.

“I appeal to law enforcement officers to do everything possible so that the murderers of Kateryna Gandzyuk are found, put on trial and punished,”

Katya’s death is a judgement of the system, with all its “reforms,” empty bravado, worthless praise...” wrote Yulia Timoshenko in her Twitter micro blog.

Hajiyev:”My wife is targeted in revenge”

This week scandal around the fortune of  the UK resident Zamira Hajiyeva (55), who is wanted in Azerbaijan regarded as a beneficiary of her husband’s fraudulent banking operations, launches an anti-corruption campaign of the British government. While carrying out the first offensive on  “unexplained” wealth”  the UK specialized body the National Crime Agency led by Donald Toon  has prepared  eight other cases for descendants from Russia, ex-Soviet Union and Africa.

Unexplained Wealth Orders have “the potential to significantly reduce the appeal of the UK as a destination for illicit income,” Donald Toon, the director for economic crime at the National Crime Agency, (NCA)  said in a statement.

Zamira fled Azerbaijan but she was arrested ‘in absentia‘ on charges of ‘misappropriation of state funds‘ and remains on Azerbaijan’s ‘wanted-list‘. However in a very recent past she had every reason to be proud of he husband.

Heralded for his professional acumen, the owner of the immense fortune, shared with his spouse, Jahangir Hajiyev  was awarded the prestigious Queen Victoria Commemorative Medal and named Best Banker In A Crisis by Europe’s business leaders, for his role in leading Azerbaijan through the 2008 financial calamity.

Hajiyev‘s personal wealth was valued at £55 million in 2011, court documents have revealed. However the star of the banker faded when he was arrested and sentenced in a highly publicized  trial in his native Azerbaijan,  accused of massive fraud, and embezzlement. Oddly, the Azeri government did not not investigate potential criminal activity against the national bank Hajiyev charied, but only against the banker himself, and a small  group of his associates. The systemic violations of laws in Hajiyev trial left many questions unanswered.

Azerbaijan is notorious for its authoritarian rule, manifesting itself in powers concentrated in the hands of the First Family: President Ilham Aliyev who inheritied his position from his father, and his wife, the vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva.  

President Aliyev is using the power of the criminal justice system to undermine his potential challengers and “take the spotlight off of his own crimes’, wrote  Bay Nabiyevan Azeri  lawyer commenting on Hajiyev case in “Jahangir Hajiyev and the Political Dungeons of Azerbaijan” for Medium news.

Zamira Hajiyeva, the wife of a jailed banker from Azerbaijan, is being asked to clarify the sources of her fortune due to a new anti-corruption enforcement scheme designed to target organized crime figures.

Hajiyeva explained that her husband gave her a £1 million plus presents and she received a monthly allowance of £20,000 but she began selling off precious objects at Christie’s, after he was arrested in 2015, court papers have shown.

My husband was in 2009 a man of substantial means. He was very well off when we married in 1997 and has accumulated capital and wealth since the early 1990’s,”  Hajiyeva argued in a witness statement to the High Court. She underlined that her husband entered the service of the International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA) with a considerable personal fortune due to his knowledge and expertise, gaining him prominence in financial sector. He successfully led the largest bank of the country for 14 years, before his resignation, he also hold a position of the Chairman of Baku Stock Exchange.

Back in 2015 Jahangir Hajiyev, in his last word at Baku Court said that bank loans were used for their intended purpose, and income-generating enterprises were opened for these funds. Loans were returned on time. Hajiyev believes that these loans can not be considered as “problematic” because the time for their repayment has not expired. Problems with the return of loans began after his resignation. Hajiyev blamed the failures on Finance Minister Samir Sharifov, because he served as the representative of the Ministry of Finance who is the head of the permanent council of the IBA.

According to banker’s lawyer Fahriddin Mehtiyev, the criminal case against Hajiyev was investigated with gross procedural violations. The lawyer pointed to the illegal methods of the investigation by the Directorate General for Combating Organized Crime of the Ministry of Internal Affairs  of Azerbaijan  systemically breaching the law.

Hajiyev was detained for 38 days in the the solitary confinement, in a gross violation of the Azeri law, said Mehtiyev,  defending the interest of the banker, underlining that all 30 complains against these procedural violations were ignored. The entire court procedure was a sheer abuse of a criminal justice system, or as Georgia Today described it, the case against Jahangir Hajiyev resemble more of a “political score settling”.

They used the financial crisis as an excuse to remove him as CEO of the bank in a manner that ensures that he will never return and challenge their positions of power,” wrote Georgia Today.

“…First Family simply changed the narrative. Not them. Him. Jahangir Hajiyev, who now sits in a jail cell on trumped-up charges in a nation ranked as one of the most corrupt countries in the world” – writes Bay Nabiyev in Medium, explaining the sudden fall of the most powerful banker of Azerbaijan by his potential to challenge President Aliyev illimited powers.

Jahangir Hajiyev: “Women should not be avenged for their husbands”, the banker said when he had to pay to one of his rivals –Gadji Mamedov – USD20 million to liberate his abducted wife Zamira in 2005.

According to British media Zamira Hajiyev acquired the following:

  • £10 million on Mill Ride Golf Club in Berkshire
  • £31 million on a Gulfstream G550 jet
  • £150,000 on Boucheron jewellery  n a single day
  • £100,000 on Cartier jeweller.

 

EU vows to support Iraqi “new” government

The European Union calls on the Iraqi security forces to show maximum restraint and for protesters to keep protests peaceful. “The European Union will remain a strong partner and supporter of Iraq, including through its €400 million pledge at the Kuwait International Conference for the Reconstruction of Iraq in February and its EU Assistance Mission for civilian security sector reform. We will work with the new government in support of the stability, security, inclusive democracy and prosperity that all Iraqis deserve” – the statement of the External Action Service says.

Imposed curfew concludes anti-corruption demonstrations in the oil-rich city of Basra after protesters set fire to other parts of the city’s government and provincial council buildings, and some other government and political parties’ offices.

Protests over chronic shortages in essential services and widespread governmental corruption have broke out following the death of at least nine people and injuries to over hund in clashes between security forces and demonstrators.

So far efforts of the Iraqi authorities to quench public unrest, including imposition of curfews and deploying substantial military forces to Basra, have not been sucessful, failing to prevent protesters from setting on fire to the provincial council building and storming the governmental buildings.

Little interest in EU-Ukraine Summit amid Brexit crisis in UK

At the 20th summit between the European Union and Ukraine, leaders discussed next steps in the implementation of the Association Agreement and the EU’s support for Ukraine’s ambitious reform agenda.

Following the summit, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, issued the following statement, with the major accent on reform programme and anti-corruption measures:

“…We agreed on the importance of continuing and accelerating reform efforts, in particular in  the fight against corruption, which is a concern for Ukraine’s citizens and businesses. While noting the establishment of new legislative and institutional anti-corruption framework in Ukraine and the work already done in the fight against corruption, in particular by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), we agreed on the need for continued efforts in the reform of the judiciary and prosecution to strengthen the rule of law in Ukraine..” – the text of the statement says.

“In this context, we welcomed the adoption of the law on the High Anti-Corruption Court as an important step forward in the fight against corruption. We looked forward to the swift adoption of the necessary amendments ensuring its jurisdiction on appeals of relevant first instance court decisions. We welcomed the intention to make the court fully operational by the end of the year…” – the statement continues.

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