№3 Modern electronic declarations and their analysis

3.1. What is indicated in electronic declarations and what are the thresholds for declaring

The modern electronic declaration consists of 16 sections.

In the first section (“Type of declaration and the reporting period”) pay attention to the period it covers. Remember that annual, declarations of a candidate for a position, and after dismissal contain data for the year preceding their submission. And the before dismissal declaration covers only the period from the beginning of the year to the date of dismissal. The types of declarations are described in more detail in paragraph 2.3 of this manual.

The section “Information about the declarant” will help you to identify the declarant, their name, place of work, and position. Remember, for annual declarations, the position is as of December 31. The declaration of the candidate for the position indicates the place where the person is applying, and the declaration after dismissal indicates the one they were dismissed from. Here, declarants may inadvertently make the mistakes described below.

Pay attention to the addresses of the actual residence and registration of the declarant. But remember that declarants have the right to indicate not their actual address of residence, but the place where they can pick up mail or even the address of the subscriber box for correspondence with the NACP.

You will not see full addresses in the declaration (street, house and apartment numbers), tax number and date of birth of the declarants, because these are only available in the restricted part of the NACP state register.

Also, in the section on the declarant, pay attention to whether the position of the declarant has the status of a responsible and particularly responsible position or a high risk of corruption. Such officials must indicate real estate, securities, vehicles, intangible and monetary assets of companies where they or their family members are beneficiaries.

The exception is property used by these firms directly in their business activities. It is not necessary to indicate industrial areas, machines, special equipment, and patents of the plant for its own products. But villas, luxury cars, or antique collections registered in its name, which are used not by the company in the course of its business, but by the declarant or their family, must be declared.

If you find such undeclared property in the companies of officials, it may mean administrative or criminal liability for them depending on its value (for details, see paragraphs 2.4 and 2.5).

Declarants whose positions do not fall under the list of responsible or high-risk declare only the possession of companies, without stating what belongs to these companies.

It will also be recalled that from October 18, 2019, declarations of changes in property status should not be submitted by all declarants, but only by those whose positions have a responsible position or corruption risks.

It’s worth mentioning that from October 18, 2019, declarations of changes in wealth should not be submitted by all declarants, but only by those whose positions have the status of a responsible position or high corruption risks.

You can check whether the position of the declarant falls under a responsible position or corruption risk, in paragraph 2.2 of this manual.

With the help of the section “Information about the declarant’s family members” you will be able to determine with whom the declarant shared their everyday life or was married in the reporting year.

By law, family members are: 

а) the spouse of the declarant with whom he was in an officially registered marriage as of the last day of the reporting period. The law also requires declarations of spouses living separately if the marriage is not officially dissolved;

b) minor children of the declarant, regardless of whether they live together;

c) any persons who lived together with the declarant as of the last day of the reporting period or for not less than half of this period (i.e. for no less than 183 days for annual declarations). They must be connected by common life and have mutual rights and responsibilities of a familial nature. Thus, this category includes the declarant’s girlfriend or boyfriend, ex-spouse if they lived together on 31 December or for half of the reporting period, parents and adult children living with them, and persons under guardianship and custody.

The key is the familial nature of the relationship. If they are just cohabitants (people who rent an apartment together, share a dorm room, etc.), then they are not considered family members and do not need to declare them. Also, according to the NACP’s clarification, family members who died in the reporting period are not subject to declaration.

In the third section of the declaration “Immovable property”, the declarant must indicate all real estate that was in their possession and that of their family members or cohabitants, owned, leased, or used as of the last day of the reporting period. It is also necessary to declare the use of the property if on the last day of the year it was terminated, but had lasted for at least half of the reporting period (for example, 183 days for annual declarations).

Real estate on the territory of Ukraine and abroad is to be declared. The area, location, date of acquisition of ownership or use, and cost must be indicated. Streets and house numbers are not available in the open part of the declarations, and the declarant may not indicate the value of the property if they are not aware of it. If the property is jointly owned, they must specify all co-owners.

Declarants must also provide information on the owners of the leased or used property. Information about these persons may demonstrate additional connections of the declarant.

Divorce or death of one of the spouses does not release the declarant from the obligation to indicate in the relevant sections of the declaration information about property and other items belonging to the former spouse and owned by the declarant for at least half of the reporting period.

In the fourth section “Objects of unfinished construction“, real estate must be declared that has not yet went through turnover (or its ownership hasn’t been registered), which:

  1. belongs to the declarant or members of their family;
  2. located on land plots that are owned, leased, or used by them;
  3. built in whole or in part from materials or at the expense of the declarant or members of their family.

It is necessary to declare the location of the object of unfinished construction, information about the owner or user of the land plot on which the construction is carried out, and if it is in joint ownership, information about all co-owners.

In the section “Valuable movable property” the declarant must indicate all valuables that they and their family members owned or used as of the last day of the reporting period. Property is also declared, the use of which has already been terminated as of this day, but lasted for at least half of the reporting period. The very concept of valuable movable property has been defined by the NACP as “any tangible property that can be moved without causing harm to it.” Therefore, in this section you can find anything including jewelry, antiques, weapons, electronics, furniture, utensils, and even purebred animals.

For valuables to be declared, their value must exceed a certain threshold. For declarations for 2015, this is 100 minimum salaries (UAH 121,800). Later, this threshold was changed to 100 subsistence minimums for able-bodied persons, set as of January 1 of the reporting year.

 

Year

Subsistence minimum as of January 1, UAH

Declaring threshold (100 subsistence minimums), UAH.

2016

1,378

137,800

2017

1,600

160,000

2018

1,762

176,200

2019

1,921

192,100

2020

2,102

210,200

The section “Vehicles” is for declaring all vehicles regardless of their value, which the declarant or members of their family owned or used as of the last day of the reporting period. This includes transport, which they have used for at least half of the reporting period. The law requires the declaration of vehicles which the declarant no longer actually has, but which they own officially, for example, if the car was handed over to another person by power of attorney or even stolen. This item applies not only to cars, but also to any other type of vehicles such as aircraft, water transport, agricultural machinery, trailers and more.

In the section “Securities”, the declarant must indicate all shares, bonds, checks, investment certificates and other types of securities that belonged to them or their family members as of the last day of the reporting period, regardless of their value. Warning! Declarants with “corruption-risk” or “responsible” positions must also declare securities that they or their relatives hold through controlled companies. If the securities are transferred to the management of another person, they must additionally indicate information about that person.

The section “Corporate rights” must  list all the shares of the declarant and members of their family in the authorized capital of legal entities (both Ukrainian and foreign). If these corporate rights were previously declared in the previous section with securities, they do not need to be re-specified.

The section “Legal entities, the ultimate beneficial owner of which is the declarant or members of their family” indicates all Ukrainian and foreign companies directly owned by more than 25% by the declarant or members of their family, or through other legal entities or nominal owners. These firms must be indicated even if they have already been mentioned in previous sections.

The section “Intangible assets” lists all intellectual property belonging to the declarant and their family as of the last day of the reporting period, regardless of their value. These can be patents for inventions, utility models, know-how, industrial designs, trademarks and trade names, copyrights, etc. This section also indicates cryptocurrencies and rights to use subsoil and other natural resources. Declarants who hold a responsible position or position with a corruption risk must indicate intangible assets, the beneficiaries of which are they or their relatives not only directly but also through controlled companies.

The section “Revenues, including gifts” indicates all revenues received by the declarant and members of their family in Ukraine and abroad. Amounts of revenues are indicated in UAH. If the revenues came in foreign currency, it must be converted into hryvnia at the exchange rate on the day of receipt. Loans or credits are not listed in this section, they can be found in the section “Financial obligations”.

Gifts are declared if their value or the total value of all gifts received from one person during the reporting period exceeds 5 subsistence minimums set for January 1 of the reporting year.

 

Year

Subsistence minimum as of January 1, UAH

Declaring threshold (5 subsistence minimums), UAH.

2015

1,218

6,090

2016

1,378

6,890

2017

1,600

8,000

2018

1,762

8,810

2019

1,921

9,605

2020

2,102

10,510

 

The section “Monetary assets” indicates cash, funds in bank accounts, contributions to credit unions and non-banking institutions, assets in precious metals, loans to third parties, etc. Monetary assets are subject to declaration only if their total amount at the end of the reporting period exceeded 50 subsistence minimums (except for the first electronic declarations for 2015 as for them this threshold was 50 minimum salaries, i.e. UAH 60,900).

 

Year

Subsistence minimum as of January 1, UAH

Declaring threshold (50 subsistence minimums), UAH.

2016

1,378

68,900

2017

1,600

80,000

2018

1,762

88,100

2019

1,921

96,050

2020

2,102

105,100

 

Although the total amount of monetary assets to be declared must exceed a certain threshold, each asset must be declared separately in the declaration. Their size is indicated in the currency in which they are stored, without conversion into hryvnia.

The section “Financial obligations” shows all financial obligations of the declarant or their family members, which they had at the end of the reporting period. These can be loans and borrowings, liabilities under leasing agreements, unpaid taxes. Financial obligations in the first electronic declarations for 2015 were indicated only if the amount of one obligation exceeded 50 minimum salaries (UAH 60,900). After this, a threshold of 50 subsistence minimums was set (see the table in the paragraph on monetary assets).

The amount of debt at the time of receipt (or as of the first day of the reporting year if it arose in previous periods), the amount of principal paid, interest paid and the loan balance at the end of the reporting period. If the financial obligation has a guarantor or collateral, information about them must also be provided.

In the section “Expenses and transactions of the declarant“, the official must indicate all their expenses, as well as the acquisition or termination of ownership or use of property that occurred during the reporting period. The amount of one expenditure or the value of the property must exceed 50 subsistence minimums (except for the first electronic declarations for 2015, where this threshold was 50 minimum salaries, i.e. UAH 60,900). If the official did not own property as of the last reporting day, information on its acquisition and alienation should still be provided. Also, if this property, car or valuable is already listed in the previous sections, its acquisition must still be declared.

Only the official themselves must declare their expenses and transactions, and this requirement does not apply to members of his family. All amounts in this section are indicated in hryvnias. If the expense was in foreign currency, it must be converted at the exchange rate on the day of payment.

The section “The concurrent job of the declarant” contains information about all his positions and concurrent work that took place during the reporting year regardless of the duration and whether it was paid. Concurrent (part-time) work is declared only by the official themselves, and members of his family are not required to.

In the section “Membership of the declarant in organizations and their bodies“, officials must indicate information about their membership in public, charitable, and professional organizations, as well as membership in their governing, auditing, or supervisory bodies. As in the previous two, this does not apply to family members.

Important: all income, expenses, and value of property in the declaration are indicated in hryvnias. If the property was purchased or the expenditure was made in other currencies, they are translated into hryvnia at the exchange rate of that day. Only cash savings can be declared in foreign currencies.

Warning! This section is based on the legislation in force as of 10 March 2020: the Law on Prevention of Corruption and the clarification of the NACP (in force at the time of preparation of the manual, can be viewed here).

3.2. Common mistakes when filling out declarations

Although modern declarations exist in electronic form, they are entered manually by officials, so mistakes are sometimes made that distort the content. Some of them are caused ordinary lack of attention, some by misunderstanding of the requirements for filling or ignorance of the peculiarities of the register. Here are the most common ones:

  1. Incorrect position information

Most often, this mistake is made by local government officials: deputies of Oblast, city, Raion, and village councils. As these positions are unpaid, they misunderstand the item “place of work” and enter their main job there. Therefore, in the register you can see many declarations of small businessmen, individual entrepreneurs, agronomists, plumbers, and even priests.

This item is also often incorrectly filled in the declarations of candidates for a position, and in declarations after dismissal. In the first case, the declarant must enter the position for which they are applying, but sometimes they indicate their current one instead. In the second case, they have indicate the one they resigned from, but often give their new job, write “retired” or “unemployed”. For example, in late 2019 – early 2020, one of former MPs submitted several correction forms as unemployed.

  1. Incorrectly specified type, category of position, belonging to people holding a responsible or especially responsible position, or to positions with a high risk of corruption

To fill in this item correctly, they have to carefully study the laws, what these types are and where the position of the declarant belongs. But in practice, declarants are often not particularly well-versed in the regulatory framework, and the legislation itself is written quite opaquely. Therefore, you can see a large number of declarants who incorrectly filled in this section in the system. 

  1. Last names, first names, patronymics of relatives or names of companies written in Russian or with errors 

Declarations must be filled in Ukrainian. Names of people can be written differently only if they are foreign citizens, and company names are duplicated in both Ukrainian and English. But sometimes officials write information in Russian or make spelling mistakes, which makes it impossible to find relatives or companies using a full-text search.

  1. The area of real estate is incorrect

The area of all real estate in the declarations must be indicated in square meters. But in practice, land is usually measured in acres or hectares. Therefore, officials may make mistakes when recalculating. Or just blindly transfer the numbers from the documents, and if you take an extract from the register, the land declared with an area of 2 square meters may actually be 2 hectares.

  1. The price of the property is incorrect

The price of real estate, vehicles, and valuables must be indicated in hryvnias. If they were bought in other currencies, the price is converted into hryvnia. If this is not possible, “not applicable” and “unknown” is indicated. However, officials sometimes forget about it and leave the price in foreign currencies. Therefore, sometimes you can find declarations with old cars bought for millions because they were bought in the 90s for karbovantsi, or extremely cheap real estate because the official wanted to declare it in Soviet rubles.

  1. Unnaturally high amounts of income

The amount of income when filling out the declaration must be rounded to the hryvnia, and “too honest” declarants who want to indicate them up to kopiyky involuntarily become victims of their own inattentiveness. Since the system does not accept commas and periods, what was written as UAH 10000.83 gets converted after the publication to 1000083 UAH. The declarant can “become a millionaire” due to other mistakes too. For example, the richest official, one of the deputies of Rokytne village council of Chernivtsi Oblast just accidentally entered his tax ID number in the revenues section.

  1. Incorrect information about the source of income 

The source of income is understood by the legislation as the legal entity or person from whom the official received this income. But sometimes the declarants write themselves or family members in this column, creating a paradoxical situation as if they paid themselves.

The only exceptions are the incomes of individual entrepreneurs or if a family member is engaged in investigative, intelligence, or counter-intelligence activities and their involvement in these bodies cannot be disclosed. In such cases, it is indeed permissible to indicate oneself as a source of income.

  1. Incorrect information about borrowers

A similar situation often arises when declaring financial obligation. Sometimes officials do not understand what to indicate in the column “Beneficiary of the obligation” and specify themselves or their family members instead of the lenders. In this case, again, a paradoxical situation arises, as if a person has borrowed money from themselves.

Of course, in case of detection of errors, the declarant has the right to submit the corrected declaration within 7 days. Features of such declarations are described in section 2.3 of this manual.

3.3. Mechanism of analysis of declarations

Most journalists and activists usually analyze officials’ declarations to find discrepancies between their wealth and official income or to find undeclared property registered for their relatives. But in reality, declarations can help to find many other interesting cases such as conflicts of interest, connections with oligarchs or business groups, tax evasion, embezzlement of funds at government procurement procedures between companies associated with the official. Therefore, the analysis should not be limited to property.

Therefore, the basic algorithm for checking the subject of an investigation looks like this:

  1. Search for information about the official on the Internet 

Before you start collecting information from the registers, you should have an idea of ​​who you are dealing with. Use the Internet to study the biographies of officials and the materials of other journalists in which they were mentioned. Knowing this background will help you draw the right conclusions and understand which way is better to dig. For example, the presence of a large amount of expensive property in the declaration of a person who has been a lifelong civil servant should raise quite warranted questions. If the official has previously worked in business or the private sector, the origin of his wealth may be perfectly legal. But instead, his ties to oligarchs and big business groups need to be scrutinized to see if the official is lobbying for their interests.

Search sources: Google, Yandex, DuckDuckGo and other Internet search engines. You should use several at once, because the search results can vary greatly. You need to search in all languages and try different keyword combinations.

Tip: Take an advanced Google search course. This greatly enhances the results.

  1. Search for declarations of the subject for all available years

Once you have an idea of the official, you should proceed directly to the analysis of their declarations. They need to be analyzed comprehensively, that is, you should find documents for all available years and track the dynamics of changes in wealth. So you can see whether the official could cover the cost of buying property through savings, income, sale of previous property, or the origin of new assets raises questions.

Search sources: declarations.com.ua, Unified State Register of Declarations. If you can not find any declarations for past years, you should look for them on the official websites of the authorities where the subject worked, or get them through requests for access to public information submitted to these authorities.

  1. Search and analysis of information about the relatives of the subject of the investigation

It is necessary to search for and analyze information about all relatives of the subject for several reasons. First, through relatives, they may be associated with oligarchs, business groups, or prominent politicians.

Secondly, an official may have a potential or even a real conflict of interest with family members. Cases of real conflict of interest can be identified by analyzing the positions and sources of income of relatives in the declarations. For example, if the declarant heads an authority, and his wife works as his subordinate (or vice versa) and the defendant signs the payment of her salaries and bonuses, this can already be reported to law enforcement agencies.

Judges may also have a potential conflict of interest if their relatives work as prosecutors or lawyers (because their paths may cross in court), MPs who draft bills having relatives running businesses in this sector, local council deputies, if the issue of allocating land to relatives or issuing subsoil development licenses is put to the vote. If you want to find such cases, look for information in additional sources: for judges you can review prosecutors and lawyers on cases on the website of the Ukrainian Judiciary and in the register of court decisions, for MPs you can read and analyze their bills and watch the voting.

Thirdly, officials like to hide their property by registering it in the name of those relatives who don’t have to be indicated in the declarations.. One of the examples is an MP whose father-in-law owns a house of 1,500 square meters in Kozyn and a number of real estate items in Kyiv worth about $8 million.

Of course, the opposite happens. A  member of the subject’s family can be a successful businessman, which explains the origin of wealth.

Search sources: income and expenses declaration in the database declarations.com.ua or the state register of declarations, declarations of family ties of judges on HQCJ website, social media, Internet search engines, the website “All Ukraine – residents” (nomer.org) and any other available sources.

  1. Search and analysis of accounts of the subject and their family members on social media 

Social networks are an invaluable source of information for a journalist. They help to find relatives of the subject who could not be identified through other sources. On social media, you can find out the places of work, education, and even birth and residence of people. Friendlists help to establish connections between the subjects, and photos can be a great proof of the discrepancy between the declared and real lifestyle. For example, thanks to an MP’s Instagram photos, it was possible to find his undeclared mansion and prove his use of two premium-class Mercedes.

Also, journalists of the Bihus.Info program have repeatedly prepared Instagram investigations into expensive vacations and undeclared property of relatives of officials, the main source of information in which were photos from their social media.

Search sources: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, VK.com, Odnoklassniki, etc.      

  1. Checking the official and their family members in the registers of legal entities, analysis of information about business partners

Companies someone founded or managed can tell a lot about a person. When it comes to analyzing declarations, coming from a business or having real business assets usually answers the question of the origin of wealth. But you should also pay attention to business partners because this is a map of the official’s connections. The official can lobby their interests during their civil service.

Firms are also markers of potential conflicts of interest. For example, a judge’s husband may be the founder of a law firm, a People’s Deputy may propose bills that are beneficial to the business of his relatives, and deputies of local councils may vote for the allocation of land to their relatives’ companies.

Companies owned by relatives that are not specified in the declarations should be checked with extra scrutiny because it may constitute the hidden assets of the official. Also, companies are often used to hide mansions and luxury cars from declaring, so you also need to take extracts from the registers of real estate and vehicles.

Search sources: Unified state register of legal entities, Ring, YouControl, Clarity Project and similar services, SMIDA, business registers of foreign countries if required, register of real estate, register of vehicles

  1. Search for information about relatives and companies on the Internet

As it is with the investigation subject, before looking for information about relatives and companies in the registers, you should first try to find out what’s already known about them. On the Internet, you can find information about their places of work or study, CVs on vacancy sites, and approximately estimate their official income. You can also find information about the companies, find out what they do, what they produce. It may turn out that these companies and relatives have already been mentioned by investigative journalists, and this will add more detail to your story.

Search sources: Google, Yandex, DuckDuckGo, and other search engines.

  1. Check whether the companies found participated in public procurement and received taxpayers’ money

This is another way to identify corruption, as it may turn out that the companies of the subject’s relatives are actively earning money through the procurement contracts of the official’s department. One of such stories can be seen in Bihus.Info’s report about 70 million hryvnias earned at KyivPasTrans’ procurement contracts by the company of the uncle of one of its employees.

Search sources: declarations.com.ua (attention, it only has the procurements of the companies that are indicated in the declarations), Ring (search across all companies), ProZorro, Zakupivli 2.0, Spending, 007. Also, these data are often caught by various analytical platforms, such as Clarity Project and YouControl

  1. Take extracts from real estate and vehicle registers regarding the official, all their relatives, and related companies. Analyze the value of the property for compliance with official income

The next step in the analysis of declarations is to search and analyze information about the property. The key problem at this stage is the correct calculation of its value.

To determine the price of real estate, journalists and analysts usually use the site LUN.ua, where you can find all offers for the sale of housing at a specific address. But at the same time, you always need to pay attention to the time and basis of the acquisition of property in the extract from the real estate register. If the owner has invested in construction, the property has cost him much less than the price you see after the house undergoes turnover. Therefore, data on the “old” price of a square meter at the stage of excavation should be sought on forums and checked with the developer.

The price of housing on the secondary market, in turn, may depend heavily on renovations. In such cases, journalists usually take either the average price per square meter, or indicate that the value of real estate may vary within certain limits.

The greatest difficulty arises in determining the value of private houses, as it varies depending on the location, the materials from which they are built, the availability of a nearby pond or forest, and infrastructure. To do this, you usually have to consult with real estate valuation experts.

The price of vehicles is determined by a similar principle. If the car was bought brand-new, it is advisable to look for its price on the official websites of dealers, if it was bought used, then it’s worthwhile to look on various sites for the sale of used vehicles, such as AUTO.RIA. But the price of the car also depends a lot on its configuration, so always pay attention to the volume of the engine in the extract from the register of vehicles and look for suitable options in dealer catalogs or on sites selling used vehicles.

There are cases when officials underestimate the value of property in declarations. For example, in 2017, journalists of Bihus.Info made an investigation into declarants who allegedly bought luxury cars several times cheaper than their market value. Their price in the documents was specially understated to be below the threshold of state financial monitoring and the current limit of cash payment, which is 150 thousand UAH.

When you suspect that the price of the property is understated, always convert it to US dollars at the exchange rate at the time of purchase of the asset, because it changes, and if you do not take this into account, you may make erroneous conclusions.

Search sources: register of rights to real estate, register of vehicles of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, official sites of car dealers, LUN.ua, AUTO.RIA or similar.

  1. Search for information about the subject, their relatives and related companies in court registers

Another crucial source of information is the registers of court decisions. There, you can find information about all lawsuits in which a person or company was involved. It may turn out that your subject was fined for violating traffic rules driving an undeclared car. Or that he was in litigation for millions of unpaid debt, which he forgot to indicate in the declaration. Or that companies associated with an official evaded taxes, were involved in embezzlement of taxpayers’ money, illegal privatization of property or other criminal schemes.

Search sources: сайт Ukrainian Judiciary – to search for information about cases in which a certain person was involved, Unified register of court decisions – to search for cases in which the company was involved and to get familiarized with the court documents.

3.4. Common mistakes in the analysis of declarations

Journalists, analysts, and activists also tend to make mistakes when analyzing officials’ declarations. These errors are sometimes caused by inattentiveness, sometimes by ignorance of the peculiarities of open data registers or the details of declaration requirements. Here are the most common among them:

  1. Didn’t account for the background, previous work of the declarant and the time of acquisition of property

You can often find declarations with a lots and lots property, and journalists or activists accuse such an official of corruption without checking his previous income. The origin of these assets may be perfectly legal if the declarant has been in business or in a high-paying position for a long time before entering civil service. Request the official’s CV, find out about their previous jobs, find previous declarations and calculate the income. It is desirable to analyze the income of family members too. Then, your conclusions will be substantiated.

  1. The same asset is counted several times

In some cases, the declarant must enter the same property or car several times, such as if it belongs to or is used by several family members who have to be declared. But if you inattentively read the information from the declaration and do not analyze the area and/or other parameters of the property, there is a risk to count the declared item several times as several different apartments or cars.

  1. Rented or used property is accounted for as owned 

It is necessary to carefully study the features of the declarant’s right to apartments, cars, and other items, so as not to inadvertently attribute the official with the ownership of additional real estate or car.

  1. Not included the income from the sale of previous property

Declarations need to be analyzed comprehensively, that is, for all available years. It happens that a new apartment or car appears in a recent declaration, and at first glance it’s not readily clear how it was purchased. But if you look at the declarations for previous periods, in particular, about changes in property status, you can see that the official may have sold some property, received income, and thus covered part of the cost of buying a new one.

Extracts from open real estate and vehicle registers should also be taken to make sure that property has been sold or purchased.

  1. Miscalculated property value

The price of a car, depending on whether it was bought new or used, can vary greatly. The same with real estate. If the owner has invested in construction, the apartment or office will cost him less than an already finished one. If you do not take into account these features, you can erroneously conclude that the property was acquired by the declarant at an understated price. Therefore, when analyzing the value of the car, pay attention to its year of manufacture, date of purchase and volume of the engine (for this you need to take an extract from the register of vehicles), and if it’s real estate, then take a look at the grounds for the acquisition of property in the extract from the register of real estate.

  1. Wrong conclusions of violations of declaring rules 

Often the authors of journalistic publications or analytical reports do not take into account the thresholds and other rules that allow declarants not to indicate certain property or income. For example, it is allowed not to declare property owned or used if it was owned or used for less than half of the reporting period and not on the last day.

Another example: it is allowed not to declare assets registered for the companies of the declarants if they are used by these companies in their economic activities. Therefore, in the case of the previously mentioned villa of the Interior Minister’s firm, which he referred to as a tourist attraction, in order to clearly state the possible criminal liability for not declaring it, it must be proved that the villa is actually used for personal purposes.

It is also important to keep in mind that some declarations may contain data for less than a year, and therefore it may be perfectly legal to omit certain property acquired after the reporting period. Therefore, when analyzing income and declared assets, you should carefully check the period covered by the declaration.

Details of what needs to be declared and what doesn’t can be found in paragraph 3.1 of this manual.

  1. Wrong conclusions about declarations due to not taking into account the specifics of other registers

When comparing the declaration data with extracts from other registers, keep in mind that the data in these registers may be incomplete. The real estate register may not contain data on apartments and non-residential premises purchased before 2013. It also does not contain information on investments in unfinished construction projects.

Also, in an extract about a person, the real estate register can show the real estate which they don’t own anymore. To check the current owner, you should take an extract for the address of each item of property separately. In addition, in our practice there was a case when the public real estate register did not indicate the current owner, who became one via a court decision, while an extract from the register obtained by a prosecutor using his access to the register did show the change in ownership.

Moreover, any Ukrainian may have full namesakes, so if you make an extract using the name, you risk getting real estate and cars of namesakes. Without knowing this aspect, you may accidentally attribute unnecessary undeclared property to the subject, which does not actually belong to them. The only way to filter a particular person’s property in the real estate register is to take an extract by their individual tax number. In the register of vehicles, when forming an extract using someone’s name, you must also add the date of birth of the person you are checking.

Another important feature of the vehicle register is that the “registration date” item does not actually indicate the time of the actual purchase of the car, but the date of the last changes in the registration documents. For example, after installing gas-cylinder equipment, repainting the car, or restoring a misplaced registration certificate. Therefore, if the register shows you that the official recently got a new car, but you do not see a declaration of significant changes in property status, just in case, review the official’s annual declaration, because it may be their old car with an incorrect registration date.

Foreign registers also often display data as of a certain date, but as of the date the extract was made. So when comparing the declaration data and extracts from the registers, keep in these details in mind, be careful with the dates and test your hypothesis using all available sources.

Розробка текстових матеріалів посібника стала можливою завдяки підтримці програми #USAID_ВзаємоДія в рамках проекту «Декларації IV: Нова надія», який реалізується ГО «Канцелярська Сотня». Цей Проект став можливим завдяки Агентству Сполучених Штатів з міжнародного розвитку та щедрій підтримці американського народу. Окремі думки, висловлені у цьому матеріалі, є відповідальністю авторів і необов’язково відображають погляди Агентства USAID або Уряду США.