Former Ukrainian PM’s RICO Case Tossed

     MANHATTAN (CN) – Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko cannot continue her four-year-old lawsuit branding a Russian natural gas tycoon a racketeer for dismantling her nation’s judiciary to install her successor, a federal judge ruled on Friday.
     A little more than a decade ago, Tymoshenko co-led a political movement that called itself the Orange Revolution and advocated against government corruption.
     During her tenure as prime minister, Tymoshenko negotiated contracts that excluded the Swiss broker RosUkrEnergo (RUE) as an intermediary in natural gas transactions between the Ukraine and Russia.
     In 2010, she was narrowly defeated by Viktor Yakunovich, a candidate that she described as a “close friend” of the wealthy Dmitro Firtash, a 45-percent owner of RUE.
     The next year, she turned to Manhattan Federal Court to accuse RUE, Firtash and others of “stripping away all remaining vestiges of an independent judiciary and the rule of law” by replacing independent judges with loyalists who would rubber-stamp paybacks against political adversaries.
     The complaint alleged violations of federal anti-racketeering law, Torture Victims Protection Act and the Alien Torts Statute.
     Human rights groups denounced Tymoshenko’s subsequent jailing for abuse of power as potentially “politically motivated.”
     Tymoshenko returned to politics shortly after her release from prison early last year.
     Her court battles in the United States came to an end as a federal judge said could not prove that the defendants were the “proximate cause” of her treatment.
     Since Tymoshenko has already tried to revive the lawsuit four times, U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood refused to give her another opportunity to amend her complaint.
     Tymoshenko’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
     The United States indicted Firtash on bribery charges last year. An Austrian judge appeared convinced that this prosecution was politically motivated and refused to extradite him earlier this year.

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