KYIV -- A U.S. law firm has begun an investigation into the expenditures of the former Ukrainian government headed by defeated presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko, RFE/RL's Ukrainian Service reports.
The firm, Trout Cacheris PLLC, was commissioned last month to conduct the probe by the present Ukrainian government of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov.
One of the firm's founders, Plato Cacheris, said in Kyiv today that it is an investigation, not an audit, and that his firm does not have a bias toward any Ukrainian leader.
Cacheris declined to specify how much the services of his law firm will cost Ukrainian taxpayers, or the number of experts involved, as "the figure might change."
"We are sensitive to the cost to the Ukrainian people and we will try to do our best to hold those costs down, but we are in fact investigating whether other moneys have been misspent to the detriment of the Ukrainian people," Cacheris said.
Tymoshenko earlier expressed doubts that Trout Cacheris was fit to undertake the Ukrainian investigation.
Cacheris previously defended Monica Lewinsky during the 1998 sex scandal involving then-U.S. President Bill Clinton.
One of Tymoshenko's cabinet colleagues, former deputy Prime Minister Hryhoriy Nemyria, told a press-conference in Kyiv today that the government is spending budget resources on the political persecution of the opposition. He also said he believes the investigation will not be transparent.
Trout Cacheris says its leading lawyers are former U.S. Department of Justice prosecutors with extensive experience in national and international investigations who meet the highest standards of professional excellence.
The Azarov government expects to receive the results of the probe into spending by Tymoshenko's government by September of this year.