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Title: Corruption as embezzlement : the Lazarenko case
Author: Timco, Ondrej
ISNI:       0000 0004 7659 647X
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis analyses the legal case US vs P.I. Lazarenko. It presents novel empirical, methodological and theoretical contributions to the field of corruption research and offers a number of policy and research recommendations related to the topic of this thesis. The thesis provides new empirical evidence by looking into the legal case US vs P. I. Lazarenko, former prime minister of Ukraine who was convicted United States of America for laundering money. Whereas the US prosecution and other authors concentrated on the unreliable testimony of Lazarenko's accomplice, I focused on the flows of money between Lazarenko and his co-conspirators' so-called offshore accounts. Even though US$250 million was frozen in transnational accounts, Lazarenko was convicted only for 8 out of 53 counts of money laundering charges because the US government was unable to prove Lazarenko's criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt. This seems understandable because Lazarenko was not laundering assets, he was embezzling them. The thesis offers methodological contribution to the corruption research by presenting a novel approach to analyse available factual evidence. I analyse embezzlement of public assets in transnational commerce by triangulating authorised factual evidence collected by Swiss, Ukrainian, and US prosecutors that was submitted in the extradition warrant of Pavlo Lazarenko and Petro Kyrychenko. The thesis assembles 310 transfers of embezzled funds that were exchanged between transnational accounts belonging to Lazarenko and his associates. By filtering 72 transfers of fraudulently-converted supervised funds to transnational accounts under Lazarenko's direct control, the thesis isolates US$257,970,438.00 that Lazarenko embezzled in 1990s. When the embezzled funds reached the accounts under Lazarenko's direct control, the conceived criminal intent materialised. By measuring the inflow of embezzled funds, it was possible to measure the materialisation of Lazarenko's amplifying criminal intent to fraudulently convert supervised public assets. The materialised criminal intent demonstrates the conceived criminal intent even when the criminal is in self-denial that fraudulent conversion of supervised public assets is not criminal. The thesis presents new theoretical contributions. It proposes a novel model of informal exchange which can help to identify and analyse new data related to corruption research. By coining the definitions of transnational and systemic embezzlement, the proposed model of - 13 - informal exchange offers new ways of compartmentalising the criminal intent relating to the corrupt commercial and economic flows of assets in economies where criminal behaviour is argued to be accepted common practice. Lazarenko case brings attention to new evidence about the honest abuse of public position in Ukraine in 1990s. By interpreting legal constraints in a way that was exclusively beneficial for him, Lazarenko was embezzling public funds while denying his criminal intent. He argued that it is a normal practice to fraudulently convert supervised assets. When embezzlement takes place in a market where informal exchange is entrenched to the extent perceived as systemic, the so called honest graft could materialise. The offence of transnational honest graft could be contextualised as a transnational conspiracy to fraudulently convert supervised public assets. Finally, by discussing transnational embezzlement and incentive-based approaches to counter transnational economic crime, the designed method of triangulating authorised evidence provides a platform for a number of policy recommendations. Triangulation as a method of verifying reliability of evidence in social sciences could be employed for analysis of authorised interpreted evidence as well as authorised factual evidence from the legal cases concerning transnational embezzlement of assets. The method brings about ways of synergising legal, policy-making, and research frameworks. The proposed sets of legal cases introduced in secondary literature open avenues to conduct a comparative analysis of authorised factual evidence submitted in extradition warrants concerning transnational conspiracies to embezzle assets.
Supervisor: Ledeneva, A. ; Wilson, A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available