According to Saakashvili, the officials do not want to transfer the rest of the money back.
Former President of Georgia and ex-Governor of Ukraine's Odesa region Mikheil Saakashvili, who was tapped to chair Ukraine's Executive Committee on Reforms, says that a mere UAH 16,000 (US$589) in money unlawfully siphoned from the country has been returned to Ukraine in 2020.
"Ukraine has been able to get back a mere UAH 16,000 this year," he said during the Pravo Na Vladu ("Right to Power") TV panel show on TV Channel 1+1 on July 2.
According to Saakashvili, the officials do not want to transfer the rest of the money back. He said four years ago, the Latvian Prosecutor General "begged" him to tell someone from the Ukrainian authorities that EUR 80 million seized by the Latvian prosecutor's office was on the accounts of the National Bank of Latvia.
"Take that EUR 80 million, it's your money," Saakashvili said, adding the funds are still in the bank.
Saakashvili said he had proposed at a National Reforms Council meeting how the money could be retrieved, but, as he said, "sabotage is underway."
"They immediately began to speak about the 'principle of fairness...' In short, to prevent this from happening. I will tell you why they do not want to have the money back. Firstly, this is a bad precedent," he said.
"Secondly, it deprives those 'decision-makers'... and 'trouble shooters' who handle all this of their 'job.' Why should they have a simple mechanism between the prosecutor's office and a person who is guilty and owes money? It's better to negotiate behind the scenes," the official said.
When asked by host of the panel show Natalia Moseichuk about ex-President Viktor Yanukovych's money and whether it is profitable for Americans to use it, Saakashvili said that "Americans are not stupid at all."
"They have a plea deal. Once, ex-Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko went there, they took all his money and almost stripped him to the skin. Now they want to take money from [Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro] Firtash... Our countries are not only robbed by corrupt officials, but then by those countries that keep the money a second time, without giving anything back to us," Saakashvili said.