Ukraine is quietly scrapping corruption rules

Anti-corruption activists from Ukraine have criticized President Vladimir Zelensky for changing the law related to the surveillance of politicians. The activists said it was a “damaging step” that was blocking Kiev’s EU dreams.

Ukrainian activists have criticized President Vladimir Zelensky’s amendment to the law that limits politicians’ financial control. According to the activists, the change hurts Ukraine’s hopes of joining the EU.

The measure “virtually nullifies efforts to combat money laundering,” said Vitaly Shabunin, head of the Anti-Corruption Action Center (AntAC). He wrote on social media:

“With this law, politicians have destroyed the system of financial surveillance of their loved ones, which means that they have blocked negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU.”

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The amended law “virtually kills the system of preventing money laundering by Ukrainian politicians,” he added. Ukraine had previously mandated lifetime financial surveillance of “politically exposed persons,” including government officials and lawmakers — until Zelensky last week signed an amendment limiting it to just three years.

Zelensky sees no more corruption in Ukraine

Officially, the law is intended to “protect Ukraine’s financial system from Russia and Belarus,” but AntAC believes it will harm the country’s interests instead.

AntAC executive director Daria Kaleniuk pointed out that the law also violated Kiev’s promises to the European Union. She told Ukrainian Internet TV channel Hromadske:

“In order for us to be able to convince our European partners that we are serious about joining the EU and that we are carrying out all the necessary reforms, we have to correct this.”

After signing the law on Thursday, Zelensky declared on the Bloomberg New Economy Forum via video link that he had essentially ended corruption in Ukraine. “No one will be able to forgive corruption in the future Ukraine,” said the Ukrainian president.

He added that all corrupt officials have fled the country, while those who remain will not be tempted to “interfere with business operations” as all government services have gone electronic.

The old law provided for lifetime financial surveillance of the president, prime minister, ministers and their deputies, members of parliament, management of the National Bank, senior security officials, key judges and prosecutors, and military commanders.

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