Proposed by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine ‘Strategy of development of the system of prevention and counteraction to legalization (laundering) of proceeds from crime, terrorist financing and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction for the period up to 2020” is declarative in nature, and its effectiveness will depend on the content of laws and regulations, which will be developed in accordance with the strategy.

This opinion was expressed by Maksym Kopeychykov, partner at Ilyashev & Partners Law Firm, to the Interfax-Ukraine News Agency.

He believes that the strategy itself can not give additional powers as it is a document defining the course of development. According to M. Kopeychykov, implementation of the strategy may result in development of a new legislation, in particular providing additional powers to the State Financial Monitoring Service (SFMS). However, M. Kopeychykov believes that now powers of the SFMS are broad enough, in particular with the ability to block bank transfers and virtually unimpeded access to documents containing bank secrecy.

In the lawyer’s opinion, it is very likely that the regulations developed to implement the strategy will become a powerful instrument of pressure on business for the authorities.

“In other words – will these regulations be developed as a vengeful sword for business and an instrument of total control of “a big brother”, or will they envisage the mechanisms limiting the possibility of state intervention in entrepreneurial activity and private life, establishing the responsibility of the state for wrongful acts, which is very unlikely”, said M. Kopeychykov.

As an example, he referred to the fact that currently a similar law “On prevention and counteraction to legalization (laundering) of proceeds from crime, terrorist financing and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction”, adopted in autumn 2014, is actively used for access to bank secrecy, which now became conventional in Ukraine inter alia “due” to this law.

“In some aspects the law can be called quite effective – it is not difficult to find in the press a mention that concerted actions of the SFMS stopped withdrawal of funds belonging to individuals or companies close to the previous government. However, the same SFMS did not see the problem in withdrawal of funds by the people close to the government, I mean a high profile case pertaining to a large payments abroad by a person considered to be close to one of the current ministers”, said the lawyer.

“This law is fully subject to the rule, which is common to the Ukrainian legislation, that the quality of the law itself is not decisive; it all depends on who and how implements it. It means that the law remains an instrument of political pressure, as the truly independent body, which activities would be focused on implementation of the law, exists only formally”, added M. Kopeychykov.

It was reported that according to order No. 1407-p of December 30, 2015 the Government approved the Strategy of development of the system of prevention and counteraction to legalization (laundering) of proceeds from crime, terrorist financing and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction for the period up to 2020.

The purpose of the strategy is legislative, organizational and institutional improvement, ensuring stable operation of the national system of prevention and counteraction to legalization (laundering) of proceeds from crime, terrorist financing and financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, etc.