April 30 - The IMF might be warning about the financial damage to Russia over Ukraine but as Ivor Bennett reports Ukraine's top prosecutor says the country lost up to $100 billion due to theft and corruption under toppled president Viktor Yanukovich.
His lavish lifestyle has become a national joke. The wealth accumulated by Viktor Yanukovich now on show at an exhibition in Kiev. As well as his numerous portraits, are gilded icons and bronze statues. The contrast between Yanukovich's lifestyle and the rest of the country's, staggering. According to Ukraine's prosecutor general Oleg Makhnitski, much of the former President's wealth was stolen from the state - to the tune of 100 billion dollars. (SOUNDBITE) (UKRAINIAN) OLEG MAKHNITSKI, UKRAINE PROSECUTOR GENERAL SAYING: "This mafia structure consisted of criminal elements which spread into different branches of the state authorities, starting from the Ukrainian parliament, to the Ukrainian government, law enforcement, bodies, prosecutors office, courts and later, down to local authorities. Ex-president Viktor Yanukovich headed this mafia." The last time Yanukovich was seen in public was mid-April, addressing journalists in the Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. He fled Ukraine in February after three months of protests. Allegedly taking with him trucks full of cash. (SOUNDBITE) (UKRAINIAN) OLEG MAKHNITSKI, UKRAINE PROSECUTOR GENERAL SAYING: "Almost 32 billion has been taken to Russia. Part of the money, besides the amount appropriated by members of the family, was used to clamp down on Maidan. The money was used to pay for hired thugs, it was used to pay police who suppressed peaceful protests, to pay the snipers and today that money is used to finance the separatist actions in the east of Ukraine." It's a claim the West believes too. That masked men holding government buildings are operating under the guidance of Russia. Moscow insists the separatists are acting of their own accord. Saying there's dissatisfaction with Ukraine's new government. In Luhansk, opinions are split. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) LUHANSK RESIDENT, MAXIM, SAYING: "The people of our city showed that we will not tolerate the illegal government which we don't need and which we know is fascist and neo-Nazi". (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) LUHANSK RESIDENT, DMITRY, SAYING: "Many people say that this is a reaction to what happened in Kiev, but it's not. It's clear that these are organized people, organized groups. They gather people, and these buildings are just handed to them." The crisis has brought Ukraine's economy to its knees. The sum Yanuklovich allegedly stole equivalent to over half of last year's economic output. The crisis could cost Russia the same amount. The IMF forecasts capital outflow to reach 100 billion dollars by the end of the year. Also saying the country's economy is now in recession.