US court permits rackateering claims to be refiled against Tymoshenko
- UTICo seeks review of $18.3 million case against Tymoshenko
- U.S. court asked to dismiss UTICo's complaint against Tymoshenko
- Tymoshenko seeks to dismiss UTICo's $18 mln claim in US
- Tymoshenko to submit statement of defense in UTICo's suit in New York court
- UTICo $18.3 mln lawsuit against Tymoshenko filed in U.S. court
- U.S. court denies UTICo's involvement in Tymoshenko case
MOSCOW, April 12 - RAPSI, Vladimir Yaduta. A federal court in New York City agreed Wednesday to consider an $18.3 million Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) claim against former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, according to a copy of the decision acquired by RAPSI.
In its initial complaint, Massachusetts corporation Universal Trading & Investment Co., Inc. (UTICo) claimed that it was owed $18,344,480 by United Energy Systems of Ukraine, PFG (UESU), the Ukrainian energy firm that Tymoshenko formerly headed.
UTICo claimed that in the years that have since passed, Tymoshenko took personal control of $2.2 billion worth of UESU assets by means of a series of transfers to offshore accounts in the British Virgin Islands, Guensey, and the Isle of Man, claiming to have based its calculations on information obtained from the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office.
The US District Court for the District of Massachusetts awarded UTICo $18.3 million in its dispute with UESU in 2005. UTICo made several unsuccessful attempts to recover the funds after UESU's assets were unfrozen from the company and a number of individuals close to Tymoshenko, including her business partner Pavlo Lazarenko, also a former prime minister of Ukraine.
UTICo submitted its lawsuit against Tymoshenko to the US District Court for the Southern District of New York in November 2011. In December 2012, the claim was dismissed.
UTICo has been allowed to amend its claim, but only in connection with alleged violations of the RICO Act. The court held Wednesday that "because both the parties and the Court previously focused on whether there was personal jurisdiction based on [UTICo's] assertion that 'this court has subject matter jurisdiction over the parties because of the diversity of citizenship,' neither party provided detailed analysis of, nor did the Court address, whether there was personal jurisdiction based on [UTICo's] federal cause of action. [UTICo] should not be precluded from presenting such an argument now." Thus the court authorized UTICo to amend its complaint against Tymoshenko, but only as far as the RICO Act claim goes.
In October 2011, Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison for abuse of power based on a 2009 gas contract that she signed with Russia. She is serving her sentence in a Kharkov women's prison. She has been receiving treatment at a Kharkov hospital since May 2012. She was diagnosed with a spinal disc herniation.
In late March, a second case bringing further charges against Tymoshenko was filed with Kharkov's Kievsky District Court. The case deals with her activity at UESU.
She is accused of misappropriating funds.