Author Topic: Former Ukrainian prime minister files appeal in two-decade saga over laundered funds  (Read 316 times)

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Offline Elderberry

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SCOTUSblog By Kalvis Golde 2/3/2023

The Petitions of the Week column highlights a selection of cert petitions recently filed in the Supreme Court. A list of all petitions we’re watching is available here.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, has been much in the news for his visit to Washington, D.C., urging greater cooperation with the United States in response to the Russian invasion. But Zelenskyy is not the only Ukrainian leader making an appeal in the U.S. capital. This week, we highlight cert petitions that ask the court to consider, among other things, whether a former prime minister of Ukraine can protect a small portion of the hundreds of millions of dollars in his assets at stake in a pair of money-laundering lawsuits.

From 1996 to 1997, Pavel Lazarenko served as prime minister of Ukraine. He resigned amid swirling political intrigue and sought asylum two years later in the United States. But when Lazarenko stepped off the plane in New York in 1999, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrested him on the spot.

Since that day, the government has spent a great deal of time and effort pursuing Lazarenko for using his political influence as prime minister to set up various foreign bank accounts and business ventures to launder huge sums of money for personal gain. Federal prosecutors in California – where Lazarenko had hoped to reside in a sprawling mansion purchased before he fled Ukraine – charged him with 53 counts of money laundering, for which he was sentenced to three years in federal prison and ordered to forfeit $22 million. Meanwhile, the government filed a civil case in Washington to seize an additional $230 million in allegedly laundered funds.