Washington Reaction: FBI Helps Ukraine Recover Stolen Billions
By Jamie Dettmer
Voice of America, Washington
Monday, March 10, 2014
FBI and U.S. Treasury agents have arrived in Kiev to aid Ukraine's interim leaders to uncover the financial crimes of the government of ousted President Viktor Yanukovych in an effort to repatriate billions of dollars.
Ukraine's new government is determined to recover some of the billions of dollars it says went missing during Yanukovych's regime.
And Washington is eager to assist.
"We are very interested in working with the government to support its investigations of those financial crimes, and we have already, on the ground here in Ukraine, experts from the FBI, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Treasury who are working with their Ukrainian counterparts to support the Ukrainian investigation," U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt told reporters here on Monday.
According to Ukrainian officials more than $20 billion of gold reserves may have been embezzled and $37 billion in loans has disappeared. In the past three years more than $70 billion was moved to offshore accounts from Ukraine's financial system.
... Dispatch continues below ...
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The country needs all the cash it can recover as it labors with debts of $75 billion. Ukraine's currency, the hryvnia, has lost more than 20 percent of its value this year. With the revolution and political turmoil, the economy is limping along.
An International Monetary Fund team is in Ukraine negotiating the details of a $15 billion-package for the struggling economy. The United States is providing $1 billion in loan guarantees to help restore financial stability.
The American ambassador says the United States is not the only country trying to help recover stolen funds.
"There are a variety of other governments who are also interested in this through the international financial networks to uncover the financial crimes committed by the previous regime and to see what can be done to recuperate some of those assets," Pyatt said.
But while Ukrainian authorities, with the assistance of outsiders, scour the books and analyze digital data in a bid to pick up the money trails, some Ukrainians worry that those who had a hand in aiding and abetting the pillaging of the country are being given government jobs.
The interim government has appointed some of the country's oligarchs as regional governors. Opposition lawmaker and rights activist Lesya Orobets is not delighted with the picks.
"I am not comfortable with those appointments, but I do see common sense in that," Orobets said. "We have to appoint those people who, acting together with the interim government before the presidential elections, will gain the control of the country. This is very important."
Orobets is comforting herself with the knowledge that there is not much left to steal and hopes the oligarchs will use this as an opportunity to be responsible.
"The previous regime has already stolen everything," she said. "This is a big chance for them to show they can behave differently."
But one of the grassroots leaders of the Maidan revolution, Sergey Poyarkov, warns that loans given now by the United States or European countries should be closely monitored.
"If you give some money, control the money," he said. "And you should demand that any payment for anyone should be openly visible on the website of the ministry or that department. That is the only way your money will not be stolen."
The interim government has appointed Tetyana Chornovol, an investigative journalist who was nearly beaten to death in December for her reporting, to lead the effort to recover the stolen billions.
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It would appear, judging by the tumble in JPY crosses (i.e. JPY strength) that the carry-traders of the world are disappointed in the BoJ's lack of exuberance.
- *BOJ RETAINS PLAN FOR 60T-70T YEN ANNUAL RISE IN MONETARY BASE (no change)
But it is the commentary that is truly baffling in its contempt for the truth:
- *BOJ: EXPORTS HAVE LEVELED OFF MORE OR LESS (umm, record trade deficit?)
- *BOJ: PICKUP IN CAPEX HAS BECOME INCREASINGLY EVIDENT (Tankan Capex growth fallen for 2 quarters)
- *BOJ SAYS JAPAN'S ECONOMY IS RECOVERING MODERATELY (GDP growth worst since Abenomics began)
Black is white; water is not wet; and Abenomics will work any day now...
Bay house prices hit new high
New Zealand Herald
Median house prices in the Bay of Plenty have reached a new high and nationally the median house price has risen 8.6% compared to this time last year. The Bay of Plenty median house price is $350,000, and the national median house price has risen by ...
and more »
A review of things you need to know before you go home; house prices higher, Govt accounts show shortfall, card spending up, more milk collected, markets wait for Wheeler
Here are the key things you need to know before you leave work today.
FEBRUARY HOUSING MARKET MIXED
The benchmark REINZ data for Febuary had mixed results. Volumes were down 7.6% from the same month a year ago, but median prices were up 8.2%. That price rise was faster than the January increase, however the changes are more Auckland driven this month, and more by the market top-end.
The seven month Govt accounts were also mixed; the surpluses returned but they were less than budgeted. GST and business taxes were a drag. However Bill English says the yare still on track for a 2014/15 surplus.
Electronic card transactions were stronger in February, fuelled by spending on hospitality.
NEW NZ BUSINESS NUMBERS
The Government today formally launched the New Zealand Business Number (NZBN), designed to make it easier for businesses to work with government. It is proposed that a single identifying number is assigned to all businesses, government agencies and commercial entities in New Zealand. New Zealand Business Numbers were initially allocated to companies in December last year; and the Government today announced a month-long consultation on options for extending coverage to other businesses, including sole traders. “Having a single business number means that by 2016 businesses will only have to provide government with their information once, which will automatically be shared across government agencies. That will make it easier, quicker, and less complicated for businesses dealing with the Government,” Stephen Joyce said.
MORE MILK COLLECTED
Milk flows reported by Fonterra to the end of February are at record levels despite the growing dryness. They are up 4.9% over last year and trump all aother previous season.
NEW CEO FOR SOLID ENERGY
Solid Energy has found someone to lead its troubled business, and Aussie.
Swap rates consolidated today, slipping back 2 or 3 bps acroos the whole curve. The 90 day bank bill rates eked out a tiny upward lift to 3.0%. Things are essentially on hold now, waiting for Dr Wheeler on Thursday.
The NZD was up slightly against the American and Australian currencies today, at US84.7c and A93.52c respectively but the TWI is down a touch at at 79.25.
The RBA's radical remedy for soaring house prices
The reality is that the housing market has become increasingly cyclical -- following two decades of strong growth, house prices have suffered three downturns over the past decade. These downturns occurred despite solid income growth, low unemployment ...