Study Visit: Sharing EU Best Practices on Combating Corruption and Money Laundering

February 28, 2024

Last week, the European Union Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine facilitated a study visit for Ukrainian prosecutors and detectives of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, the Bureau of Economic Security of Ukraine to the Economic and Financial Police School of the Guardia di Finanza in Ostia, Italy. Aimed at enhancing the legal expertise of Ukrainian prosecutors and law enforcers in combating corruption and money laundering, this initiative was developed in partnership with the Italian Ministry of Justice, the Guardia di Finanza, the Italian School of Higher Magistracy, and EUAM Ukraine.

Bohdan Olkhovyi, a prosecutor from the Kyiv District Prosecutor’s Office in Kharkiv, highlighted the critical nature of this training in light of the destruction brought by the war in his region. “Kharkiv is one of the cities most affected by the Russian aggression. Thousands of houses have already been destroyed,” Olkhovyi remarked. He emphasised the urgency of safeguarding the funds allocated for reconstruction against corruption. The prosecutor underscores the training’s value in effectively enhancing their efforts to investigate corruption offences and money laundering.

“Through these training initiatives, the Mission supports Ukraine’s institutions, particularly the Prosecutor’s Offices and specialised investigators. Our focus is on combating corruption, investigating and prosecuting major money laundering schemes, and recovering stolen assets. Corruption, being one of the most profit-driven crimes, undermines democratic governance, economic development, and the rule of law, even more so during wartime,” says Cristiana Macchiusi, an EUAM Senior Advisor on Prosecution. She adds that this study visit highlights EUAM’s work to prepare Ukraine for EU membership, focusing on political, economic, and monetary integration requirements.

Echoing the significance of international collaboration in addressing these global challenges, Mykola Synelnykov, Head of the Specialised Defence Prosecutor’s Office of the Central Region, pointed out, “Corruption and money laundering in today’s world is not a local problem but is spread in many countries, sometimes acquiring transnational features.” Synelnykov stressed that the insights gained from the European experience are crucial for conducting more thorough investigations into the misuse of defence and reconstruction funds, particularly in the context of military aggression.

Over five days, the programme covered five thematic sessions. Each session addressed essential aspects of combating economic and financial crimes, such as corruption and money laundering. Topics included cross-border fraud, asset recovery, and suspicious transaction report analysis. Italian Public Prosecutors and officers from the Guardia di Finanza, with extensive experience in these areas, led the sessions. They provided a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical investigation simulations. This offered Ukrainian participants a unique opportunity to apply new skills in real-world contexts.

Anastasiia Tvierdokhlieb, a senior detective of the Main Detective Unit of the Bureau of Economic Security of Ukraine, expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the training. “International experience exchange and cooperation are important to us,” she stated, appreciating the practical knowledge shared by Italian colleagues. Tvierdokhlieb emphasised the importance of applying these international case studies to improve the efficiency and impartiality of pre-trial investigations in Ukraine.

This training initiative represents an important step in strengthening the capabilities of Ukrainian legal practitioners. It ensures they are better equipped to confront and dismantle the networks of corruption and money laundering. By fostering international cooperation and sharing best practices, EUAM Ukraine and its partners are contributing to the global effort to uphold the rule of law and promote justice in the face of war.