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US judge dismisses suit filed by ex-Ukraine PM
US judge dismisses suit filed by ex-Ukraine PM

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on Friday dismissed a civil lawsuit [document, PDF] filed by former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [BBC profile], who alleged that Ukrainian businessman Dmytro Firtash perpetuated a racketeering scheme [RICO text, LII] in the US that led to her imprisonment in 2011. The court ruled that Tymoshenko could not prove [Reuters report] that Firtash laundered money in the US to pay supporters and legal costs for Viktor Yanukovych, who defeated Tymoshenko for the Ukrainian presidency in 2010. The ruling states that Tymoshenko failed to link the defendant’s conduct to a harm that would allow for relief under the law: “Without specifying the particular contribution of each Defendant to the money laundering scheme, Plaintiffs fail to establish the requisite directness of relationship between each Defendant’s conduct and the harm suffered by Tymoshenko.” The judge dismissed the case without prejudice; as this complaint marked the fourth time counsel for Tymoshenko had formally amended their legal argument in this suit. After losing the vote for presidency, Tymoshenko was jailed in Ukraine, and she was released from prison in 2014. Meanwhile, Firtash was charged [WSJ report] by US prosecutors in 2014 for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act [text, LII] for conspiring to pay $18.5 million in bribes to foreign officials in India, with some of the payments routed through US banks.

Corruption within national governments remains a major legal and political issue around the world. Earlier this week, the Federal Supreme Court of Brazil banned corporate entities from providing funding to political candidates [JURIST report] in future elections. The court found that corporations played too significant of a role in campaign funding and corporate involvement compromised the legitimacy of the elections and violated Brazil’s constitution. Also last week, Bangladesh’s High Court ordered prime minister Khaleda Zia to face trial on charges of embezzling money from two corruption cases between 2001 and 2006, and Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta was indicted [JURIST reports] for allegedly committing forgery, complicity in tax evasion, and money laundering. Last week, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi accepted the resignation [JURIST report] of his prime minister and and his cabinet, after an investigation headed by the country’s prosecutor revealed that the minister and others received bribes amounting to over USD $1 million. Earlier this month, former Guatemalan president Otto Perez Molina was jailed pending an investigation of corruption charges [JURIST report]. Molina initially refused to leave office and he has maintained his innocence [JURIST reports].