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Ninth Circuit again affirms Ukraine ex-PM corruption conviction

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Friday refused [opinion; PDF] a petition for an en banc rehearing by former Ukranian prime minister Pavlo Lazarenko [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], who had been on trial for money laundering and embezzling, allowing several of his convictions to stand. In September, the appeals court vacated [opinion, PDF] Lazarenko's nine-year sentence [JURIST report], setting aside five counts of wire fraud and a single count conviction for interstate transportation of stolen property. The court affirmed the conviction on eight counts and remanded to the lower court for resentencing. On Friday, the court denied Lazarenko's petition for an en banc rehearing, granted in part his petition for a panel rehearing, and issued a new opinion affirming and reversing the same counts and remanding for resentencing.

Lazarenko, who sought political asylum in the US during the 1999 Ukrainian presidential elections, is accused of defrauding and laundering at least $114 million from Ukrainian businesses and government projects between 1996 and 1997. Originally convicted [JURIST report] by a federal jury in 2004, 15 of the original 29 charges against Lazarenko were later dismissed [JURIST report], but the most serious charges were sustained. The former Ukrainian leader has been under house arrest in the US since his conviction.

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