Ukraine World | March 2018 | Lost Treasures: How Ukraine Fights for the Return of Yanukovych Assets

by Vitalii Rybak

[Note: See information about Freeh’s defense of the Kliuyev brothers here and here]

Serhiy Klyuyev, a Ukrainian MP from the close entourage of Viktor Yanukovych (also known as “family”), fled the country in 2014 after the Euromaidan protests. He did not leave empty-handed. According to the data of the Anti-corruption Action Centre he, together with his brother Andriy, stole over 15 billion hryvnias (5 billion euros) by taking loans from Ukrainian banks which were never returned and receiving financial support from the state. Based on the request by Ukraine’s, the EU Council has imposed sanctions against Klyuyev brothers, as well as 17 other officials from Yanukovych’s “family” on 5 March 2014.

Since then, the Prosecutor-General’s Office of Ukraine has been obliged to provide the EU court with sufficient evidence regarding this case. However, the judges questioned“the adequacy of the proof” provided by the Ukrainian side. Therefore, on 21 February 2018, the EU General Court cancelled sanctions imposed by the EU against Serhiy Klyuyev. Daria Kaleniuk, the head of Anti-Corruption Action Centre, is sure that the Ukrainian Prosecutor-General’s Office did nothing to save the case. “They have not even launched a special investigation regarding Serhiy Klyuyev,” she writes.

Additionally, this case sets a dangerous precedent. For the first time, ongoing sanctions against one of former officials from Yanukovych’s “family” have been dropped. All the others, who’s guilt Ukraine has not proven yet, could count on the very same. Therefore, the question arises: is Ukraine doing enough to recover the assets stolen by Viktor Yanukovych and his cronies?

The first major problem is that it is almost impossible to calculate the exact amount of money stolen from Ukraine during the four years of Yanukovych’s regime. The government has not figured this out in the four years from his escape. According to former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Oleh Mahnitskyi, back in 2014 Yanukovych  embezzled in excess of 100 billion dollars over the years of his presidency. However, in 2017 the Prosecutor-General’s Office of Ukraine (GPU) has given a “smaller” figure—40 billion dollars (which, nonetheless, is equal to the annual state  budget of Ukraine).

Unfortunately, civil society has little access to the data available to investigators. “When we ask the prosecutors how much money has been frozen, they either say that all the accounts of the Yanukovych “family” have been frozen, or say nothing due to the secrecy of the investigation,” Tetiana Shevchuk, a lawyer at the Anti-Corruption Action Centre, says in a commentary for UkraineWorld.

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Webster University | Jan 2015 | Investigating Alleged Misdeeds: Good Corporate Practice

The Honorable Eugene R. Sullivan, the former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals gave a Centennial Lecture, “Investigating Alleged Misdeeds: Good Corporate Practice” at the Webster Vienna Campus on Thursday, January 29. His remarks were based on case studies that he encountered at his current position as partner in the global judicial/law enforcement consulting firm, Freeh Group International Solutions (FGIS), founded by Louis J. Freeh, former director of the FBI. The firm conducts independent investigations in a variety of companies, and Sullivan enthralled the audience with case studies of alleged embezzlement and bribery by multi-billion dollar firms.

Judge Sullivan has a mantra that he believes that companies should follow when facing accusations of misdeeds, “1. Evaluate the Risk, 2. Find the Truth, and 3.Take Action”. Sullivan noted that external organizations should be engaged in order to investigate; internal investigations have neither credibility, nor are effective at finding the truth. Once the truth is found—should the accusations prove true—the firm must act immediately by taking responsibility and holding those involved accountable.

Sometimes the accusations prove to be unfounded, as Sullivan found in the case of the company Slav AG, which operates partly out of Vienna. Slav AG was accused in the media (see Der Standard, for example) of money laundering and of possible human rights violations due to ties with former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich, who was involved in the violent suppression of protestors in the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution. Sullivan, together with the investigation team found that these allegations were not true, but that the corporation did the right thing by requesting an external investigation.
[Note: After this was published, Serhiy Kliuyev, one of the co-owners of Slav AG, joined his brother Andriy as a fugitive in Russia, Andriy is on the US, UK, and EU sanctions lists, while Serhiy has been on various sanctions lists at various times since 2014. Both brothers were subject to EU & UK sanctions when Sullivan was defending their company.]

Sullivan also shared some stories from his illustrious past. He is a retired Federal Judge in Washington D.C. with over 16 years of appellate experience. Nominated by President Reagan and confirmed by the Senate, Judge Sullivan was installed as a Federal Judge in 1986. In 1990, President Bush named him the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals (AF). From 1982 until 1986, Judge Sullivan was the General Counsel of the National Reconnaissance Office (“NRO”, a then super-secret US satellite intelligence agency). Judge Sullivan also served in the White House on the legal defense team of President Nixon during the Watergate investigation in 1974. From 1974 to 1982, he was a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. From 1982, until he became a Federal Judge in 1986, Judge Sullivan served in the Pentagon as the General Counsel and the Chief Ethics Officer of the U.S. Air Force after serving initially as the Deputy General Counsel.

At a reception following the Centennial Lecture, Judge Sullivan answered students’ questions over a glass of Austrian wine and hors d’oevres. Two of Sullivan’s colleagues from the investigation, Michael McCall—Associate Managing Director with Freeh Group and former FBI Special Agent— and Eugene R. Sullivan II—Judge Sullivan’s son and Lead Counsel during the investigation— were also there to meet with students. The reception was generously donated by SLAV AG.

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by Evan Thomas

“We are here to keep Catholics from living double lives,” says Father C. John McCloskey, an Opus Dei priest. In the case of Robert Hanssen, the FBI agent accused of spying for the Russians, Opus Dei apparently failed spectacularly.

During the 15 years he was allegedly working for the Kremlin, Hanssen was a devout member of Opus Dei, a superorthodox and deeply anti-Communist order. It may be years, if ever, before Hanssen’s soul and psyche reveal the true nature of his perfidy. In the meantime, his case has put a spotlight on Opus Dei and the role played by conservative Catholics in Washington.

Unlike Pat Robertsen, Jerry Falwell and the evangelical religious right, Washington’s conservative Catholics are reticent and low-key. “Our faith is personal, not political,” says McCloskey. But Catholic conservatives (and reputed Opus Dei members) like FBI Director Louis Freeh and Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas are nonetheless an intriguing and sometimes misunderstood spiritual force in the deeply secular capital.

It’s not surprising that the FBI’s Hanssen, who had a longtime fascination with wiretapping and avidly read Orwell’s “1984” and Huxley’s “Brave New World,” would have been drawn to an organization that permits superiors to open the mail of new “numeraries.” Hanssen’s haughty attitude, expressed in his letters to his KGB handlers, was characteristic of Opus Dei’s sense of superiority, say the Opus Dei bashers, who note that the order is the only one in the Catholic Church that reports directly to the Pope.

At the Opus Dei-run Catholic Information Center two blocks from the White House, McCloskey dismisses these conspiracy theories. “Opus Dei is the most open order in the Catholic Church,” he says. Of Hannsen’s connection, he says, “Only a very twisted mind would join Opus Dei seeing it as a cover or a mysterious secret organization, because it isn’t.” He dismisses the rumors that Freeh and Scalia are secret Opus Dei members as “completely false.” Indeed, he says, “I can’t think of any Opus Dei members in government.”

Nonetheless, he says, “we are interested in people who can have an influence.” He numbers as his personal friends the widely read conservative columnist Robert Novak, who converted to Catholicism three years ago, and supply-side economic guru Lawrence Kudlow. Describing McCloskey as a “very engaging man,” Kudlow recently detailed how the priest helped him discover Christ. Smooth and handsome, ascetic but worldly, McCloskey (who declined to have his photo taken) says he plays squash at the University Club with Washington Post reporters and regularly appears on MSNBC. McCloskey is familiar with wealth and power: an Ivy Leaguer (Columbia), he worked for Merrill Lynch and Citibank before becoming a priest.

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Washington Post|March 2001|FBI Spy Case Arrest Blows Parish’s Cover

By Bill Broadway and David Cho

For 20 years, St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church has attracted some of the area’s most influential people to a secluded sanctuary in a grove of evergreen trees on Springvale Road in Great Falls.

Doctors, lawyers, bureaucrats, technology executives, politicians, artists and intelligence operatives have found solace and unity in traditional Masses and in the deep-seated piety of the church’s 4,000 members. They also have enjoyed the anonymity of worshiping in a quiet parish 20 miles from downtown Washington.

St. Catherine’s, one of 66 parishes in the Diocese of Arlington, is an intensely private congregation, said its pastor, the Rev. Franklyn McAfee. “Everybody supports [the work of the church], but nobody stands out.”

Or so it was until last week, when parishioner and FBI Special Agent Robert P. Hanssen was arrested on espionage charges. Suddenly, the church came under public scrutiny, and the names of its most famous members became widely known.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and his wife attend regularly, as do Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and FBI Director Louis J. Freeh and their families. So does Kate O’Beirne, the National Review’s Washington editor.

Scalia, Freeh and Santorum declined, through spokesmen, to be interviewed about St. Catherine’s or the worship experience that brings them and their families back. But other members spoke freely of their appreciation of the church’s colorful services and orthodox Catholic teachings.

They said they like to hear Bach and Mozart played by a classically trained organist and sung by an 18-member choir dressed in bright red robes. They like the 10:30 Latin Mass every Sunday, which the priests celebrate the old-fashioned way — with their backs to the congregation, facing the cross. They like the monthly services where everyone sings Gregorian chants.

Several Catholic lay organizations meet at St. Catherine’s, including the Knights of Columbus, Opus Dei and the Third Order of Dominicans. McAfee is confessor to two D.C. convents run by the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa’s order, and the parish is the regional base for the order and its lay missionaries.

McAfee noted the irony of the missile site’s proximity in an interview this week, but otherwise he had little to say about the Hanssen case, explaining that he does not know Hanssen well. Hanssen, the third FBI agent ever charged with espionage, has been accused of selling secrets to the Soviets and Russians since 1985.

The revelation has been an embarrassment for some of St. Catherine’s parishioners. But foremost, it’s a sad moment for the church, they say.

Heron, the parishioner who found a spiritual home on his first visit to the church, began crying when asked what effect Hanssen’s arrest has had on the parish. He said that he didn’t know Hanssen but that hearing about the charges against him was an emotional blow, almost like the death of a family member.

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by Michael J Sniffen

 (AP) _ Who would have believed it? The FBI has an office in Moscow. A restless FBI director tours Red Square at 1 o’clock in the morning. The FBI director leads a gaggle of U.S. lawmen into the Lubyanka Square home office of KGB spies in the United States.

Louis Freeh‘s visit to Moscow this holiday weekend served as a milestone in the changing relationship between the United States and Russia. Every step he took was a first.

On July 4th, he opened the FBI’s first office in Russia and in effect became its first occupant.

The two agents picked to man the office have yet to arrive, and the U.S. Embassy hasn’t selected a room for them.

So Freeh spent 10 hours visiting the chiefs of most of Russia’s national police, justice and security offices from Lubyanka Square to the Kremlin offices of President Boris Yeltsin’s national security adviser, Yuri Baturin.

For decades, FBI agents hunted KGB spies in the United States. The last caught was arrested in February – Aldrich Ames of the CIA, who also spied for the Russian Federation that replaced the Soviet Union.

But there was no public mention of Ames on Monday as Freeh headed a team of officials from the Justice and Treasury departments into the feared yellow building on Lubyanka Square. Its basement once housed a KGB prison, where by U.S. accounts murder was not uncommon.

Their host, Sergei Stepashin, director of the counterintelligence service, one of several successor agencies to KGB and not Ames’ employer, found it ”quite symbolic that the first meeting between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Counterintelligence Service is here in Lubyanka Square on your Independence Day.”

Freeh’s arrival in Moscow on Saturday capped a typical grueling day.

He went jogging at 6 a.m. outside Vilnius, Lithuania, met officials of three countries there and flew to Kiev, Ukraine, for more meetings before dinner in Moscow ended around midnight.

At that hour, Freeh was anxious to see Red Square and took most of his delegation by motorcade.

He left the square about 1 a.m. but returned almost immediately upon discovering Assistant Treasury Secretary for Law Enforcement Ron Noble had stayed behind with some reporters in a city plagued with rising street crime.

”Mr. Noble, I’m sorry the director doesn’t think it’s wise,” said John Behnke, the FBI agent Freeh sent to retrieve Noble. Trailing close behind Behnke, Freeh shrugged at Noble and said, ”It’s not worth the risk.” They left together. [Note: John Behnke is the brother of Stephen Behnke, a psychologist accused of enabling torture. John is now employed by Freeh Group International Solutions]  

Sunday night, Gen. Mikhail Yegorov, head of organized-crime control in Russia’s Interior Ministry, took Freeh and about a dozen of his party to an informal ”shaslik” or shishkebab dinner of roast suckling pig at a government dacha outside Moscow.

Honoring the tradition of this kind of Russian evening, Freeh downed something close to 10 shots and one tumbler of vodka in an effort to remain within polite hailing distance of his host, according to participants. Freeh didn’t jog Monday morning.

Freeh’s closest brush with crime came in Lithuania. He stayed at a new hotel nearly 20 miles outside the capital, Vilnius.

”It’s owned by the mob or has organized crime investors,” Freeh said on his plane later.

Why would an FBI director trying to mount an international effort against organized crime stay at such a place?

”There’s no choice,” Freeh replied. ”Every new hotel there is like that.”

The same hotel provided an unexpected surprise. Freeh and several others stopped in the hotel’s bar Friday evening and then discovered it overlooked an indoor pool a floor below where two couples were cavorting nude. Freeh’s chair faced away from the pool and he later told aides he was surprised to learn there were swimmers there.

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Guardian|July 2015|Psychologist accused of enabling US torture backed by former FBI chief

by Spencer Ackerman

A prominent psychologist ousted from the leadership of the the US’s largest professional psychological association for his alleged role in enabling and covering up torture has enlisted a former FBI director to fight back.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Louis J Freeh, Bill Clinton’s FBI director, rejected an independent report begrudgingly embraced by the American Psychological Association (APA) as a politicized smear job.

The report, which leaked on Friday, is a “gross mischaracterization” of the “intentions, goals and actions” of former ethics chief Stephen Behnke, Freeh said. He threatened unspecified legal retaliation on Behnke’s behalf.

“Dr Behnke will consider all legal options in the face of this unfair, irresponsible and unfounded action by a select few APA board members,” Freeh said.

But through Freeh – whose presence on Behnke’s team is likely to be interpreted as an attempt to get the Justice Department to stay out of the imbroglio – Behnke, “a distinguished and dedicated APA senior staffer”, has now gone on the offensive.

Freeh painted Kaslow as a hypocrite, saying the “chairwoman of the so-called ‘special committee’” voted with the APA’s other leaders to “adopt and implement these policies over a series of years with full knowledge of Dr Behnke’s role in the resolution drafting process”.

In the statement, Freeh does not offer any specific denials of the facts Hoffman marshalled. Instead, he portrays the APA as complicit, self-servingly sacrificing Behnke as a convenient scapegoat. Freeh’s statement does not use the word “torture”.

 The APA seeks to wash its hands of Behnke and the organization’s interrogations era, Freeh charged, by way of the Hoffman report.


by Katherine Eban

Why, exactly, did the United States end up torturing detainees during George W. Bush’s administration’s war on terror, when there was no scientific proof that coercive interrogations would yield valuable intelligence, and ample proof that it would harm our national security interests, elicit false information and spread unnecessary ill will throughout the Muslim world, possibly for generations to come?

It’s a head scratcher, to say the least, but a blockbuster report issued last week suggests one answer: greed. Specifically, the greed of psychologists who hoped to receive, and in some cases did receive, financial benefits in exchange for providing the Pentagon with intellectual and moral cover for its torture of detainees.

The American Psychological Association, roughly the equivalent of the American Medical Association for psychologists, played a crucial, long-hidden role in the story of American torture. James Elmer Mitchell, who created the C.I.A.’s torture program with Bruce Jessen, was a member of the A.P.A. Psychologists sold the C.I.A. and the Pentagon on a menu of aggressive interrogation techniques presented as scientifically proven to be effective; in reality, they were based on Communist methods designed not to find the truth but to produce false confessions that could be used for propaganda purposes.

The report details how A.P.A. officials colluded secretly with defense department officials, plotted to deflect critics, used procedural sleight-of-hand to bury ethics complaints against participating psychologists, ignored blatant conflicts of interest, kept their communications secret and even tried to destroy the e-mail trail when things got too close for comfort. So determined were some A.P.A. staff to remove any daylight between psychologists and their defense department benefactors, that they even suppressed a book of essays raising questions about war’s troubling impact, with the specious claim that some of the science wasn’t sound.

At least one former A.P.A. president, Joseph Matarazzo, was consulted by the C.I.A. as to whether sleep deprivation constituted torture. He gave his expert opinion that it wasn’t necessarily torture. He wound up with a one percent ownership stake in Mitchell Jessen & Associates, though he told the Sidley Austin firm that his stake was in an entity called Knowledge Works, a division of the company devoted to continuing education activities.

The most extreme example of collusion, according to the report, is the A.P.A.’s own ethics director Dr. Stephen Behnke, who comes off as a villainous charmer practically worthy of Shakespeare. Behnke’s back-channel communications with Dr. Morgan Banks, then the Chief Army Operational Psychologist for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, were so continuous – checking in to determine what A.P.A.’s position should be, what its public statements should say, and what strategy to pursue — that they amounted to an “undisclosed joint venture,” the report says.

With calls growing for a Justice Department investigation of A.P.A. officials, it was disclosed Sunday that Behnke had retained probably the best person to stop a Justice Department probe in its tracks: former F.B.I. director Louis Freeh. Freeh released a statement calling the Hoffman report “defamatory” and a “gross mischaracterization of [Behnke’s] intentions, goals, and actions.” The statement concludes with a barely-veiled threat: “Fortunately, in America it is judges and juries who decide the law, not private organizations beholden to political agendas.” On Tuesday, the A.P.A. announced the retirement of its C.E.O. and deputy C.E.O. (the latter of whom was Behnke’s supervisor), and the resignation of its communications director, who had been involved in much of the association’s disingenuous messaging. (A representative from Freeh’s office declined to make Behnke available for comment.)

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