When we hear about corruption, we usually hear stories of rich oligarchs, private jets and mansions dripping in gold. We rarely hear about the people on the other side of the equation, the women dying in childbirth without access to basic medical care, the children who never get to go to school, the people all over the world dying from curable illnesses because they can’t get hold of the medicines they need.
Their stories don’t get told - these people are usually too busy trying to survive. Nina Astaforova-Yatsenko from Ukraine, spends her days searching for ways to get hold of medication to keep her 7 year-old daughter, Nonna, alive. Nonna suffers from haemophilia and since corrupt politicians bled their country dry, their hospitals can’t buy the medicine she needs.
Nina met Daria Kaleniuk, an investigator and campaigner, who spent years investigating how Ukraine’s money, the money they had both paid in taxes to support the people who need it most, ended up in the pockets of a few corrupt politicians. And the UK was at the heart of it.
When Ukraine’s former President, Yanukovych, was removed from office in 2014, huge amounts of the money that had been stolen from the state was found in bank accounts in London – and it got there via secret companies in places like the British Virgin Islands. Politicians stole valuable parts of the country to themselves and their friends secretly, hiding their identity behind shell companies and then pocketing the cash. The UK’s tax havens remain the first choice for the corrupt to hide and launder their stolen money.
That's why together, Nina and Daria are calling on the UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, to insist that the UK tax havens publish the details of who owns the companies registered there. Publishing the owners of shell companies will start to expose the people behind this corruption. It's a first step in stopping the money laundering that lets the corrupt hide their crimes and run away with the cash. And David Cameron has the power to stop it.
The saddest thing is that Nina and Nonna’s story is not an exception – there are families all over the world paying the price for corruption. Sign their petition today.
Nina and Nonna’s campaign is featured on Mumsnet