U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder spoke at the Ukraine Forum on Asset Recovery on Tuesday in London, unveiling a new Kleptocracy squad within the FBI that will investigate and prosecute corruption cases in Ukraine and around the world.
Referring to the Obama Administration’s response to the toppling of President Yanukovych’s regime, Holder said the DOJ had a response team on the ground in Kiev to assess the needs of Ukraine’s investigation into stolen assets belonging to its people.
He said a newly created squad with the FBI will be a part of this initiative.
This morning, I am pleased to announce the creation of a dedicated Kleptocracy squad within the FBI. This specialized unit will partner with our Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section to aggressively investigate and prosecute corruption cases — not only in Ukraine, but around the world. The squad of about a dozen personnel will consist of case agents and forensic analysts who are capable of unraveling the intricate money laundering transactions commonly employed by kleptocrats. Their sophisticated work will be supported by deputy marshals from the United States Marshals Service and analysts from FinCEN, which is our financial intelligence unit. And this new initiative will provide the United States with increased capacity to respond rapidly to political crises as they arise — so we can help prevent stolen assets from being dissipated or secreted away by deposed regimes.
Holder said the cross-border flow of proceeds from criminal activity, including corruption, has been estimated to be as much as $1.6 trillion per year.
“Corruption often serves as a gateway crime, paving the way for money laundering, transnational organized crime, and in some cases even terrorism,” Holder said.
The full text of Attorney General Eric Holder’s April 29 speech is here.
Julie DiMauro is the executive editor of FCPA Blog and can be reached here.