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Ukraine special report : OCO releases today a wide investigation concerning org. crime and public corruption

Started in late 2013, OCO launched a wide and in-depth investigation concerning multiple aspects of criminality in Ukraine. Research has been conducted by the OCO and prestigious partners such as the University Observatory on Security (Geneva, Switzerland), the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center (Fairfax, USA) and the Basel Institute on Governance (Basel, Switzerland).

Although Ukraine is part of numerous initiatives against corruption and organized crime, their results haven’t been properly evaluated in the light of the recent events. OCO has undertaken this complex task.

See OCO full report here : Ukraine and the EU – Overcoming criminal exploitation toward a modern democracy

 

Media Release

Ukraine Report update: OCO President says crime must not go unpunished

Geneva, Novembre 12, 2013 –

OCO President, Nicolas Giannakopoulos, responded to media questions about its interim report on Ukraine today, with journalists focussing on the issues of cybercrime and the detention of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Journalists asked whether OCO felt it appropriate, based on its review of legal documents from the United States and Switzerland, whether Tymoshenko should be freed ahead of the EU summit at Vilnius.
Mr Giannakopoulos responded that he did not agree:

“Ukraine should be ashamed if it releases Tymoshenko as democracies should not bow to pressure in relation to crime.  Evidence from the United States points to a clear link with Pavlo Lazarenko and the laundering of money from the pockets of Ukrainians.  Crime is crime and must not go unpunished.”

On cyber-crime, Mr Giannakopoulos called on law enforcement agencies worldwide to cooperate on a growing crime that has touched one in every two Ukrainians and is a major concern for the future.

New Report on Organized Crime Trends in Ukraine ahead of EU Summit: Corporate Raiding, Internet and Counterfeiting Identified as the New Battlegrounds for Law Enforcement

Geneva, Novembre 12, 2013 –

A new breed of crime is quickly emerging in Ukraine according to the first interim report on organized crime and public corruption in Ukraine by the Organized Crime Observatory (OCO).

The report, presented at a news conference at the United Nations today, outlines the progress of international researchers in their assessment of the nation’s crime and corruption, ahead of a crucial European summit at Vilnius later this month in which an agreement may be signed granting the former Soviet state EU Associate status.

The OCO report assesses the key trends in Ukrainian criminality, observing that drug smuggling and people trafficking remain at a high level in the country, but new trends such as corporate raiding and fraud are increasingly common. The study will also focus on public corruption with an insight on local bureaucracies.

The biggest new challenges for law enforcement agencies are an increase in counterfeiting and cybercrime, both of which internationalize Ukraine’s criminal influence. The internationalization of corporate raiding is more hidden but still very present.

OCO President, Nicolas Giannakopoulos commented that Ukraine has made great efforts to join and comply with European and international conventions to combat organized crime, corruption and other illegal activities but the road ahead is still challenging.

“Europe has for some time regarded Ukraine as a hotbed for organized crime and corruption, and the high profile cases of former Prime Ministers Lazarenko and Tymoshenko certainly attest to the scale of crime in the country. Ukraine efforts shows some interesting progress against organized crime gangs, which is good news. Where more needs

to be done, however, is in tacking the blight of corruption that impacts the lives of so many people in the country and the emerging risks posed by cybercrime and corporate raiding. This is where Europe could be doing more to help.”

OCO reports that one in two Ukrainians has fallen victim to internet scams, such as identity fraud and theft, with over two thousand fraud cases already reported. Corporate raiding, on the other side, often ends in western Courts.

Nicolas Giannakopoulos sees this trend as one in which the European Union can protect itself by working more closely with the country:

“European agencies could provide useful support for their colleagues in Ukraine. This would be good news for Ukrainians, but it would also help citizens across the EU too by preventing Ukrainian criminal activity spreading across the continent.”

The OCO’s comprehensive investigation and study on Ukraine will run through September 2014.

Argentinian Presidential Corruption Linked to Swiss Banks

Geneva, October 21, 2013 –

Over US$5 Billion of monies supposedly belonging to Kirchners might have been laundered into Swiss banks at least since 2005. From the Argentinian inquiry conducted by Prosecutor José Marìa Campagnoli who uncovered a EUR55 millions money laundering scheme, investigative journalist Juan Gasparini, longstanding Organized Crime Observatory (OCO) member, have reconstructed the complete scheme and exposed it in his new book entitled « Las Bovedas Suizas Del Kirchnerismo ». The Swiss Federal Public Ministry (MPC) has recently started an inquiry involving at least two banks and a fiduciary company.
The book highlights the flow of money out of Argentina via a number of companies, and includes direct testimony from two former business associates who were directly involved in the money laundering scheme of the treasurer of the hidden fortune of the presidential couple.

Gasparini, who joined OCO in the early years back in 1999, previously published a book entitled “El Pacto Menem-Kirchner” that explored how M. Kirchner and his political opponent, former President Carlos Menem, both used Switzerland as a privilegied destination. Menem used it for alleged corrupt funds. Kirchner used it for its own schemes.The book explores the inquiries in Switzerland against Menem’s accounts but also the dubious repatriation of US$390 million to Argentina out of US$500 million of public money that were initially invested by Nestor Kirchner who was Governor at the time, in the international markets to avoid the effects of the pesos devaluation of 2001. Nothing has yet done to uncover what happened with the difference and the 15 years of interests.

But the pieces of the puzzle seem to recollect 10 years after. In fact, in 2004 M. Kirchner fires the Argentinian Justice Minister Beliz and his state secretary Campagnoli and in the meantime, the Swiss judge that was investigating the case moved in another jurisdiction. The place was clear to start a new money-laundering scheme.

OCO President, Nicolas Giannakopoulos, welcomed the book as a major step forward in the fight against political corruption and money laundering:

“Juan Gasparini has devoted himself to uncovering the truth about corruption in Argentina, revealing the details of one of the largest cases of political corruption and international money laundering ever seen in the world. This book has vital lessons for the international media on how to uncover hidden crime and for global investigating and prosecuting agencies on how criminals work to evade discovery. That Juan has achieved this in the face of enormous personal risk is testament to his determination that high office should be no defense against investigation and that crime must be punished irrespective of the importance and wealth of the perpetrator.”

It also shows how political power is being used to thwart attempts to uncover the truth, and how Juan Gasparini overcame these many hurdles to reveal the facts of a crime in which every Argentinian citizen is a victim. On the 21st of October 2013, the case was transferred to another team of judge and prosecutor. We hope they will continue the work started by M. Campagnoli.

OCO joins the University Observatory on Security of the Global Studies Institute

Geneva, October 09, 2013 –

The Organized Crime Observatory has joined the Global Studies Institute (GSI) of the University of Geneva and has been integrated with the newly created University Observatory on Security.

This initiative, sponsored by Nicolas Leyvrat, director of GSI, Rémi Baudouï and Frédéric Esposito, both members of GSI, will strengthen the role that OCO has established internationally since 2001.

But the pieces of the puzzle seem to recollect 10 years after. In fact, in 2004 M. Kirchner fires the Argentinian Justice Minister Beliz and his state secretary Campagnoli and in the meantime, the Swiss judge that was investigating the case moved in another jurisdiction. The place was clear to start a new money-laundering scheme.

This integration will now secure the historical mission of center of competence on organized crime of OCO, and strengthen the role of the University Observatory on Security both institutionally and academically.

The Security Observatory projects are aimed at:

  • contributing to a better understanding of issues related to insecurity in society and study the differences between reality and social representations.
  • Federating researchers, academicians and civil society actors, fostering a common dialogue among these groups and help define research programs.
  • Helping to understand the needs and issues flagged by field operators and help in defining research, namely in the area of terrorism, organized crime, urban security and environmental security.
  • Raising public awareness on issues related to international, national and regional security and democracy.
  • Becoming a reference for public institutions on general social tendencies and evolutions in fields related to security and their impact on society.

The newly created institute will be co-directed by N. Giannakopoulos and F. Esposito as of October 1st 2013.

The Global Studies Institute thrives to develop research and educational programs around intelligence on globalization.

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