Manual on certain aspects of financial investigations (Analysis of financial relations) book delivery event Kiev, Ukraine.

 

On the 30th of September 2021 there was a presentation event to deliver 250 copies on paper, in Ukrainian and English languages, of the book Manual on certain aspects of financial investigations (Analysis of financial relations) to the State Financial Monitoring Service (SFMS) of Ukraine and other Ukrainian beneficiary institutions. This event took place at the Hilton hotel, Taras Shevchenko Boulevard, 01030 Kiev, from 10:30 to 14:00 local time.

From the Ukrainian Government, the event was chaired by Ms. Liubov Pidhorodetska, Deputy Director of the Financial Investigations Department of the State Financial Monitoring Service (SFMS) of Ukraine.

The event was organised and moderated by Sergii Rybchenko, Senior Project Officer of the Project Partnership for Good Governance II, Strengthening measures to counter money laundering and financing of terrorism in Ukraine of the Council of Europe (CoE) in Ukraine.

The opening remarks were told by Mr. Vahagn Muradyan, Deputy Head of the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine; Mr. Jesus Castilla, EU-ACT Project Deputy Team Leader; and Ms. Alexandra Janovskaia, from the EU Delegation to Ukraine.

Some interventions followed on about the financial investigations as an important tool for detecting and documenting the movement of funds during illegal activities.

Mr. José Manuel Colodrás, EU-ACT Project Regional Coordinator in Ukraine until the 30th of June 2021, who had a leading role in this work, spoke remotely from the General Directorate of the Spanish National Police in Madrid about the concept of financial investigation, from the formation of the idea to its implementation in an activity of law enforcement agencies.

Then, there was an extensive exposition about the concept of financial investigations and about this manual by the representative of the State Financial Monitoring Service of Ukraine, Ms. Liubov Pidhorodetska, Deputy Director of the Financial Investigations Department of the State Financial Monitoring Service (SFMS) of Ukraine.

Mr. Ian Richardson, international expert of the Council of Europe, spoke through videoconference about the pros and cons of conducting financial investigations.

Mr. Paulius Klikunas, from the European Union Advisory Mission in Ukraine, also spoke through videoconference about the standardisation of understanding and unification of approaches in conducting financial investigations.

The speakers had some time to answer questions from some of the roughly twenty Ukrainian participants, and exchange views with them.

EU-ACT (the European Union action against drugs and organised crime project) supports the development of drugs policy and drug demand reduction activities in key countries along the heroin route.

The project has a component of capacity building for strengthened national policies to respond to concrete training needs for law enforcement and intelligence officers, investigators, and prosecutors, promoting the compliance with international law.

The assistance to the local authorities in the elaboration of guidance, operative procedures, and working manuals, as this financial investigations’ manual, has been one of the most significant activities of EU-ACT.

The fifth-round mutual evaluation report on Ukraine, adopted by the Council of Europe (CoE) Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism Committee (MONEYVAL) elaborated a December 2017’s summary of the anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) measures in place in Ukraine as at the date of its on-site visit (between 27 March and 8 April 2017). The MONEYVAL report analysed the level of compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) 40 Recommendations and the level of effectiveness of Ukraine’s AML/CFT system, and provided recommendations on how the system could be strengthened.

Amongst the Key findings, it was stated that there were areas where the understanding of the financial investigations could be enhanced.

Since the 2017, the EU-ACT Project in Ukraine has been supporting the work of the Ukrainian financial investigations unit (FIU) (a role assumed in Ukraine by the State Financial Monitoring Service -SFMS-), to overcome some of the weaknesses detected in that fifth-round mutual evaluation report of MONEYVAL, as the lack of sufficient financial investigations on drug-related cases.

Since then, EU-ACT has been working with the SFMS in the fields of assisting in drafting a manual on financial Investigations, including parallel financial investigations on drug-related cases and other criminal cases; cooperating with the financial investigations unit (FIU) to provide training on analysis of financial data and financial investigations in this kind of investigations. Supporting the integration of the Ukrainian FIU in international fora related to financial investigations on drugs (for instance United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Paris Pact Initiative Pillar II ‘Illicit Financial Flows’); and promoting networking and communication among FIU and Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA´s).

As stated in the introduction of the book Manual on Certain Aspects of Financial Investigations (Analysis of Financial Relations), a financial investigation is a tool that offers an effective mechanism to combat crime and ensure confiscation of proceeds from crime. The objectives of the authorities shall include not only detecting and preventing crimes and offences in the economic field, including corruption offences, legalisation of proceeds from crime, and financing terrorism, and then confronting offenders with criminal liability in a court, but also it is important that the benefits obtained from illegal activities be retrieved. To do this, the financial investigations should encompass not only the key suspects but also their associates.

This manual will help prosecutors and law enforcement agencies’ investigators to develop different approaches of conducting investigations of crimes with an economic component.

This book, which has been printed and delivered by EU-ACT at this event, represents four years of work and the will of EU-ACT, the CoE Project in Ukraine, and the Ukrainian Government to enhance the knowledge and instruments of the Ukrainian institutions responsible for preventing and fighting money laundering and financing of terrorism towards the aim of thwarting the economic side of the organised crime and recovering the illicitly obtained money and assets so that these proceeds can revert again into the society, in accordance with European and International Standards.

As the EU-ACT expert prosecutor on drug investigations explained last year in the Black Sea Prosecutors Network, during a complex drug traffic investigation it is not easy to separate the investigation on drugs from the financial side of it and the money laundering which goes alongside with it. It is better to investigate both criminal activities together. Usually, the subsequent money laundering is even more complex than the drug investigation itself; but the financial investigation sometimes provides evidence which can be useful for the drug investigation. Money transactions are related with the role of the suspect in the criminal organisation.

The EU-ACT Project closed its office in Ukraine on the 30th of June and will end definitively on 30th of November this year 2021. EU-ACT thanks the Council of Europe delegation in Ukraine, the State Financial Monitoring Service, and the rest of the Ukrainian institutions which have contributed to produce this work: National Police, Security Service, Customs, State Border Guard, Prosecutor’s General Office, Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, National Anti-Corruption Bureau, State Bureau of Investigation, and Assets’ recovery Agency. EU-ACT wish them all the best in the implementation of the knowledge contained in this book and hope that the collaboration of Ukraine with the EU member States and institutions on financial investigations will increase in the future.