Sunday

23rd Sep 2018

EU considering sanctions on eight Yanukovych officials

  • People looking round in Yanukovych's private mansion after he fled Kiev on Saturday (Photo: aleksandr.andreiko)

With Ukraine’s former leader on the run after allegedly stealing billions of euros and causing scores of deaths, oppositon chiefs want the EU to impose sanctions on him and his clan.

Hryhoriy Nemyria, the deputy chairman of the opposition Batkivshchyna party, told EUobserver on Wednesday (26 February) that Viktor Yanukovych and his "familia" embezzled €9 billion from the Ukrainian treasury in the past four years.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

He said the latest death toll from Kiev and other cities is 150 people and rising, as new information comes to light.

He noted that EU visa bans and asset freezes are “urgently” needed to help repatriate the stolen funds and to “defuse” tension on the streets.

“I don’t think they had the chance to move the money, much of which is in European banks, because the events developed so quickly,” Nemyria said.

He added: “There is an important psychological and security dimension to all of this. Activists and families of victims feel a lot of aggression because the people who committed these crimes have not been brought to justice. But if the new people in power use the Ukrainian legal system to pursue them without international endorsement, it might create the perception that this is political revenge.”

For their part, EU foreign ministers agreed last week to impose sanctions “against those responsible for human rights violations, violence and use of excessive force.”

EU officials have also drafted a legal text to implement the move.

The document is a standard formula, but it tidies up the ministers’ rhetoric: It refers to “human rights violations, violence or use of excessive force,” because the ministers' “and” would have been “cumulative” in legal terms and would have designated only people guilty of all three infractions.

The draft text also contains eight names, most of whom are Yanukovych’s former security chiefs.

It is confidential until it is published in the bloc’s Official Journal.

But the likely names - set down at the end of this article - are well known, not least to Ukrainian opposition activists who worked with EU diplomats to put the list together.

One option under discussion is to expand it to 11 names, in view of new material in documents seized from government buildings. Another option is to include political and business figures in the Yanukovych familia.

EU countries are waiting to see what foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton says after coming back from Kiev before they decide what to do.

Some of them agree with Nemyria’s point of view.

“What would we say to the people on the Maidan [the opposition camp in Kiev] if Oleksandr Yanukovych suddenly pops up in Paris and uses the money that he has in French banks to avoid being brought to justice,” a diplomat from one EU country said, referring to Yanukovych’s older son, a dentist, who used his father’s power to become one of Ukraine’s richest men.

She noted that the EU, in Egypt and Tunisia, already used asset freezes to help repatriate stolen funds.

Meanwhile, Ashton’s spokeswoman told EUobserver on Wednesday that: “The main focus now is on two issues: creating a lasting political solution and economic stabilisation.”

But other EU states are wary of triggering the blacklist even if Ashton says Yes.

A diplomat from one large EU country said there is “no agreement” on who to list and that the fall of Yanukovych has put the whole idea under a question mark.

He noted the foreign ministers last week also agreed that “implementation will be taken forward in the light of developments in Ukraine.”

“We use sanctions for preventative purposes, to try to change people’s behaviour, not for punitive purposes. You could say that the threat of sanctions has already had a positive impact in limiting the bloodshed. The question is what intention would we have if we implement the sanctions today?” the diplomat said.

A diplomat from another EU state said the decision is unlikely to be taken quickly.

“The situation in Ukraine has changed to the extent that there is no urgency as before. The original idea was to use sanctions to save lives. But now these events are in the past,” he noted.

He added that no matter what happens at EU level, individual member states would most likely stop people like Oleksandr Yanukovych from “popping up” in Paris or London to use their wealth.

“There are other institutions, other kinds of measures in play, which are not being disclosed,” the diplomat noted, referring to EU countries’ anti-money laundering structures and intelligence services.

“If a Politically Exposed Person arrived in a luxury hotel in the EU tomorrow, we would know about it very quickly,” he said.

EU blacklist: The options

The following names were given to this website by Ukrainian civil society activists and opposition leaders, some of whom advised the EU diplomats who drew up the draft list of eight names. EUobserver does not know who is currently designated in the confidential EU text.

Short list of people responsible for use of force

Serhiy Arbuzov (former deputy prime minister)

Yuriy Ilyin (former chief of Ukrainian army)

Andriy Kluyev (Yanukovych’s former chief of staff)

Pavlo Lebediev (former minister of defence)

Olena Lukash (former justice minister)

Viktor Pshonka (former prosecutor general)

Oleksandr Yakymenko (former head of Ukraine’s domestic intelligence service, the SBU)

Vitaliy Zakharchenko (former interior minister)

Additional names of people responsible for use of force

Serhiy Asaveliuk (former chief of special operations of the “BBVV,” the interior ministry’s gendarmerie)

Myhailo Dobkin (head of regional administration in Kharkiv, alleged to have masterminded use of “titushki,” or, hired thugs)

Gennadiy Kernes (mayor of Kharkiv, allegedly linked to titushki operations)

Valeriy Koriak (former Kiev police chief)

Oleksiy Krykun (former senior official in Kiev police)

Sergiy Kusiuk (former head of "Berkut" special police in Kiev)

Valeriy Mazan (former senior interior ministry official)

Oleksandr Popov (former chief of Kiev municipal administration)

Andriy Portnov (Yanukovych’s former deputy chief of staff)

Oleg Prysiazhnyi (former head of SBU’s couner-terrorist “Alpha” squad)

Viktor Ratushniak (former deputy minister of interior affairs)

Volodymyr Sivkovych (former deputy secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine)

Stanislav Shuliak (former BBVV chief)

Volodymyr Totskyi (former head of SBU’s counter-terrorism operations)

Oleh Tsariov (MP in ruling Party of Regions, publicly backed use of force against protesters)

Oleksandr Shchogoliev (former head of Kiev branch of SBU)

Members of Yanukovych familia

Mykola Azarov (former prime minister)

Raisa Bohatyriova (former health minister)

Oleksandr Efremov (Party of Regions MP)

Anatoliy Holovin (former president of the Constitutional Court)

Yuriy Ivanushchenko (Party of Regions MP, alleged to control Yanukovych's regional “barons”)

Serhiy Kliuyev (businessman and brother of Yanukovych’s former chief of staff)

Oleksandr Klymenko (former chief of tax administration)

Vadym Kolisnichenko (deputy chairman of Party of Regions, who backed 15-year prison terms for protesters)

Serhiy Kurchenko (Ukrainian businessman)

Viktor Medvedchuk (main mediator between Yanukovych and Russian leader Vladimir Putin)

Volodymyr Oliynyk (Party of Regions MP, who backed 15-year prison terms for protesters)

Eduard Stavitskyi (former minister of ecology and natural resources)

Dmytro Tabachnyk (former education minister)

Oleksandr Yanukovych (former president’s older son)

Viktor Yanukovych (former president)

Viktor Yanukovych jr. (former president’s younger son)

EU unsure who to blacklist in Ukraine

EU countries have agreed to impose sanctions on the Ukrainian regime, but disagree who should be on the blacklist and when it should enter into life.

EU to donate criminal assets to charity

Criminal suspects who flee the country or who are ill could still have their illicit assets confiscated and donated to charity, under new rules endorsed by MEPs.

Opinion

Building a Europe more resilient to terrorism

One year to the day since the terror attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, the commissioner for home affairs spells out what action the EU is taking now to protect against further attacks.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  2. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia
  3. Sound of discord at 'Sound of Music' Salzburg summit
  4. Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate
  5. UK's post-Brexit plan 'will not work', EU says
  6. Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU
  7. Libya keeps coast guards rejected by the EU
  8. EU divisions on menu at Salzburg dinner

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  5. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  6. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  9. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  11. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman Requests More Lending Transparency from European Investment Bank
  2. FIFARecycling at the FIFA World Cup in Russia
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  4. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and Reconciliation Is a Process That Takes Decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  5. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  7. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  9. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  12. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us