Share the blame

Kyiv Post - - Opinion -

Ukraine, four years af­ter the EuroMaidan Rev­o­lu­tion, is still seen as one of the most cor­rupt coun­tries in the world. The ef­forts of the newly cre­ated Na­tional Anti-Cor­rup­tion Bureau of Ukraine to in­ves­ti­gate cases of of­fi­cial graft are be­ing thwarted by the au­thor­i­ties. And even of­fi­cials from the regime of run­away former Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych have so far es­caped re­spon­si­bil­ity for their three-year loot­ing spree of the Ukrainian state, which pushed Ukraine to the brink of eco­nomic col­lapse.

Ukraini­ans them­selves, of course, are pri­mar­ily to blame for cor­rup­tion in their own coun­try, though some are more to blame than oth­ers - politi­cians, of­fi­cials and busi­ness­peo­ple; we're look­ing at you.

But the prob­lem isn't helped by the at­ti­tude of the West, which for too long has acted as an en­abler of Ukrainian cor­rup­tion, pro­vid­ing safe havens for cash looted from the state bud­get, and even fast-tracked cit­i­zen­ship pro­grams so that wealthy Ukrainian "in­vestors" can park their ill-got­ten gains in Lon­don or Vi­enna with greater con­ve­nience.

And as the Panama Pa­pers and Par­adise Pa­pers leaks of de­tails about off­shore com­pa­nies have re­vealed, it is all too easy for Ukraini­ans - even the coun­try's pres­i­dent - to set up com­pa­nies with se­cret ben­e­fi­cia­ries in off­shore tax havens, which could be used to avoid or evade Ukrainian taxes. Hence the ab­surd statis­tic of tiny Cyprus be­ing one of the big­gest "in­vestors" in Ukraine - this is not Cypriot money, it is Ukrainian money that has been fun­neled from Ukraine to Cyprus and then back again.

This has to stop. Ukraini­ans have enough prob­lems with cor­rup­tion - they don't need them to be ex­ac­er­bated by the West's du­bi­ous prac­tices.

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