US court sentences former Ukraine PM to nine years prison for money laundering

US court sentences former Ukraine PM to nine years prison for money laundering

[JURIST] At the end of the first US trial of a foreign head of government since that of Panama's Manuel Noriega, a US federal judge in San Francisco Friday sentenced former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko [Wikipedia profile; defense website] to nine years imprisonment on corruption-related charges. US prosecutors indicted Lazarenko for money laundering, wire fraud, extortion and other crimes [RFE/RL report] after he claimed asylum in the US in 1999 in the wake of several alleged assassination attempts against him. The charges were laid in connection with various Ukrainian business schemes he was involved in during the 1990s in which at least $114 million taken from Ukrainian sources was illegally passed through US banks.

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. AP has more.