Ukraine's first deputy prosecutor-general, Vitaliy Kasko, has said that in the 3 1/2 years since he left his post, the authorities haven't provided convincing evidence to recover frozen assets abroad that allegedly belong to former President Viktor Yanukovych and his inner circle.
Speaking to state-run Ukrinform agency on October 16, Kasko who was reappointed to his position in September, said that in order to recover any stolen assets from abroad, cases must be successfully investigated and prosecuted in Ukraine before claims can be made in foreign jurisdictions.
Recollecting his first tenure as deputy prosecutor-general in 2014-16, Kasko said that "we need proof in criminal cases in Ukraine to demand or ask for the return of anything from abroad."
In the 3 1/2 years since then, he said "not one kopek was retrieved related to Yanukovych or to any corruption case whatsoever."
The reason being, according to Kasko, is that not one former top official suspected of corruption was convicted in Ukraine and their frozen foreign assets tied to a specific crime.
"But one has to have patience," he said. "There are several criminal investigations under way that show promise. I won't provide time frames or start painting colorful digits in the billions, like some people did. Let's wait for the rulings."
Former Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko in 2017 said that Yanukovych and his cohorts had allegedly absconded with approximately $40 billion.
The former president abandoned office and fled to Russia in February 2014 in the wake of the Maidan pro-democracy movement.
Prosecutors are investigating Yanukovych as the alleged head of an organized crime group that includes oligarch Serhiy Kurchenko, former Revenues and Duties Minister Oleksandr Klymenko, former First Deputy Prime Minister Serhiy Arbuzov, and other former high-ranking officials.
Kasko resigned in 2016 over disgust with alleged graft at the Prosecutor-General's Office, then headed by Viktor Shokin.
After stepping down, Kasko said his decision was based on "the fact that the top management has turned into a body dominated by corruption and people covering each other's backs; and any attempts to change this state of affairs are conspicuously persecuted."
He continued, "To be a part of the body that instead of protecting the law, tolerates total lawlessness, I cannot and do not want to."
On September 5, Prosecutor-General Ruslan Ryaboshapka appointed Kasko as one of his deputies.