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EU Court Strikes Down Sanctions On Yanukovych Allies

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov

BRUSSELS -- An EU court has ruled that the bloc was wrong to freeze the assets of five close associates of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

The ruling on January 28 by the EU’s General Court concerns former Ukrainian Prime Ministers Mykola Azarov and Serhiy Abruzov, Azarov's son Oleksii, former Energy Minister Edward Stavytskyi, and businessman Serhii Klyuyev.

The EU in March 2014 placed the five on a blacklist of individuals suspected of stealing Ukrainian public funds before Yanukovych was brought down by street protests.

The EU’s General Court said on January 28 that the five were included on the blacklist based solely on a letter from the Ukrainian Prosecutor-General’s Office.

But the letter dated from March 2014 “provides no details concerning the matters specifically alleged against the five Ukrainians or the nature of their responsibility,” the Luxembourg-based judges argued.

The ruling can be appealed within two months before the European Court of Justice.

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