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U.S. Court Dismisses Ex-Ukrainian Leader's Suit Against Political Foes

Yulia Tymoshenko speaks during a parliament session in Kyiv on September 17.
Yulia Tymoshenko speaks during a parliament session in Kyiv on September 17.

A U.S. court judge has dismissed a lawsuit by former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko accusing her political opponents of running a U.S.-based racketeering enterprise that led to her imprisonment.

The court said Tymoshenko failed to show that industrialist Dmytro Firtash laundered money in the United States to help pay Ukrainian prosecutors and supporters of Viktor Yanukovych, who in 2010 narrowly defeated Tymoshenko to become Ukraine's president.

Tymoshenko claimed that Firtash, who partially owns Ukrainian energy company RosUkrEnergo, "skimmed" millions of dollars from natural gas contracts and laundered them through bogus Manhattan real estate transactions.

She said the campaign was payback for her 2009 agreement with Russia to eliminate RosUkrEnergo as an intermediary in natural gas sales.

In dismissing the complaint, the court said Tymoshenko failed to establish a direct relationship between Firtash's conduct and the harm she suffered.

Tymoshenko had sought punitive damages for her imprisonment and harm to her reputation.

Tymoshenko was convicted in October 2011 and sentenced to seven years in prison for abusing her power in connection with the 2009 gas transaction.

She was freed in February 2014 after Yanukovych was ousted as president.

Based on reporting by Reuters and Courhouse News Service