CURRENTS CHANGES IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION IN UKRAINE, AND HOW THEY INFLUENCE WHITE COLLAR CRIME PRACTICE
Ukraine inherited the post- Soviet punitive system of law enforcement agencies and lack of independent courts. Prosecutors have tended to scorn human rights and right to defense. For 25 years of independence, system not only has not got rid of the antidemocratic past, but also got another terrible disease - total corruption. As a result, investigatory bodies have lost professional staff and experience. An attorney’s qualification lost its value. Why do you need an attorney, if criminal problems may be quickly resolved with a bribe to a prosecutor or a judge? The ongoing legal reforms in the field of criminal justice were episodic and had no significant impact. A er the Revolution of Dignity, starting from 2014 the legal sphere of Ukraine has been significantly reformed. Part of legal reforms were successful, the results of some of them need the time to be assessed, some reforms failed. The level of corruption in Ukraine is still extremely high. Ukraine is the 130th least corrupt nation out of 175 countries, according to the report by Transparency International. Under pressure from society and foreign partners, primarily the United States, two new bodies were created in Ukraine – the National Anti- Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (hereina er – the NABU) and the Specialized Anti- Corruption Prosecutor's Office (hereina er – the SAP). The task of the first body is to identify and investigate corruption among the country's senior officials ( politicians, ministers, governors, judges, prosecutors). The SAP’S task is to carry out procedural management (to sign notices of suspicion, authorize detectives to conduct separate investigative actions), and also to conduct prosecution in court. A er two years, the newly created anti- corruption infrastructure of the NABU/ SAP has shown itself to be quite effective. There was an innovation never seen before in previous years - official notices of suspicion of corruption are being issued not just to the political opponents of the authorities, but to the country's top officials, regardless of their proximity to the president or the authorities as a whole. Parliament deputies, the head of the tax service, a member of the Central Election Commission, the mayor of a large city, prosecutors of the General Prosecutor’s Office, and a dozen judges have been detained on corruption charges. SAP detectives and prosecutors effectively use all possible arsenal of criminal investigations - special cover operations, wiretap and covert surveillance, interception, international cooperation. They reveal through their counterparts, similar agencies the beneficiaries of accounts in foreign banks and offshore companies. NABU- SAP are able to focus on and conduct long-term and comprehensive investigations. They also enjoy effective support from internal analysts (economists, auditors) and technical experts ( including IT specialists). These approaches and opportunities distinguish anti- corruption bodies from the other law enforcement agencies, whose investigations and approaches seem archaic by comparison.
What was the basis for this success?
My guess is that the key condition for success is a properly built structure (the architecture of anti- corruption bodies. The legal structure of NABU- SAP provides for the absence of political influence) and their recruitment systems. All NABU- SAP employees undergo a tought and multi- stage open selection process (anonymous testing of knowledge and skills, a character test, and polygraph and psychological tests). Representatives of civil society have an opportunity to express their views with regard to specific candidates and participate in interview process. NABU detectives have a competitive reward system, like that of lawyers of law firms. A strong internal security service has also been formed inside the bodies. NABU employees are periodically tested by polygraphs, and are subject to secret integrity checks. As a result, the anti- corruption bodies now have an apolitical, highly professional and well- motivated team. We know of no case of the leakage of information regarding investigations, or cases of corruption. In turn, the lack of corruption and professionalism in the investigations caused a demand for the services of professional attorneys and law firms.
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Denys Bugay Partner, head of WhiteCollar Crime practice at VB PARTNERS