In 2014, Western countries made Ukrainians a promise. They pledged to recover money stolen by the country's deposed president and his cronies, and to return it. Ukraine was in desperate need of funds, as it sought to repel a Russian invasion, to maintain basic services, to pay its foreign debt, and to end — once and for all — its crippling epidemic of corruption. Two years on, it's time to ask how that is going.
Bloody Money tells two stories. One is of a Ukrainian oligarch's bank account — and the $23 million it contained. In unprecedented detail, it reveals where the money came from, how it was laundered, and what happened when a British judge ruled on its provenance. The other story is that of a Ukrainian mother, and her battle to find medicines for her hemophiliac daughter, in a country where healthcare is just one more opportunity for corrupt officials to make money.
The documentary reveals how kleptocrats use shell companies to obscure the origins of their stolen money, and how Western enablers — lawyers, accountants, and more — assist them in doing so. It also shows how Ukrainian officials continue to run corrupt schemes, despite 2014's revolution, and how that is sabotaging the country's reform efforts.
Bloody Money was produced as a collaboration between Sundance Institute and VICE News, as part of the prize awarded to Global Witness when it won the 2014 TED Prize. Additional funds from Skoll Foundation. Directed by Havana Marking and presented by Oliver Bullough.
Watch the trailer here: