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7 November, 2013 18:55   ▪  

Financial Times: For Yanukovich, dealing with corruption is lots of good words and little action

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich sounded deadly serious during a passionate speech he gave on his administration’s commitment to fighting corruption on Wednesday, however he forgot to mention the missed opportunity to put words on paper in a memorandum of understanding to fight corruption with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Mark Rachkevych in his article for The Financial Times reports.

“Himself accused of corrupt practices for the way he managed to occupy a lavish estate in a Kiev suburb, it was delivered at a World Economic Forum event in Kiev,” Mark Rachkevych claims.

The WEF event that Yanukovich spoke at certainly included friends in attendance: it was sponsored by Group DF, owned by gas and energy tycoon Dmytro Firtash, who recently sponsored another event to spread Ukrainian culture throughout London; System Capital Management, owned by the nation’s richest man Rinat Akhmetov who hails from the president’s native region of Donbas; and Smart-Holding, owned by newly-minted Ukrainian citizen Vadim Novinsky who was recently elected to the pro-presidential Party of Regions.

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However, absent in Yanukovich’s speech was any reference to the missed opportunity he had the day before to put words on paper and ink his signature on a memorandum of understanding to fight corruption in tandem with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti cancelled his plans to visit Kiev after learning the Ukrainian side was not ready to sign it yet for “technical reasons,” Reuters reported on Tuesday (November 5). Obtained by the Financial Times, the signing of the MOU – although not legally binding – was supposed to show Ukraine was ready to match form with substance, including smiting the widespread prevalence of so-called company raider attacks enabled by unruly courts.

The memo is currently in the Ukrainian government’s hands, apparently because it is still tweaking with the wording. One clause in particular foresees the creation of an independent body to examine complaints from companies working in-country on how they are treated by tax and customs authorities, as well as the courts.

“For Yanukovich, it’s lots of good words and little action. As for the EBRD, when doing business with Ukraine, always make sure to buy a refundable ticket when planning trips,” points out ironically Mark Rachkevych.

READ ALSO: Transparency International: Ukrainian Authorities Merely Imitate Fighting Corruption

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