A New York federal judge dismissed a civil lawsuit Friday from former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who had accused her political opponents of running a racketeering business in the U.S. that led to her imprisonment in 2011.
Just over a decade ago, Tymoshenko led the so-called “Orange Revolution,” which swept her into power on a promise to tackle government corruption, voter intimidation and electoral fraud.
The court found that Tymoshenko could not prove that Ukrainian industrialist Dmytro Firtash had laundered money in the U.S. to help pay supporters and legal costs for Viktor Yanukovych, who narrowly defeated Tymoshenko for the presidency in 2010.
Tymoshenko had accused Firtash, partial owner of Ukrainian energy company RosUkrEnergo, of skimming millions of dollars from natural gas contracts and then laundering them through Manhattan’s real estate market. She said the campaign was taken in revenge against her 2009 agreement with Russia’s then-prime minister Vladimir Putin to remove RosUkrEnergo as a middleman in natural gas sales between the two countries.
U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood said that "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," Reuters reported.
Tymoshenko was convicted in 2011 and sentenced to seven years of imprisonment for misconduct and abuse of power in connection to the 2009 RosUkrEnergo agreement. She was freed last February when Yanukovych was ousted from power by a popular revolt, with the Ukrainian Supreme Court acknowledging that "no crime was committed."
Tymoshenko had described Firtash as a “close friend” of Yanukovych, and had accused Firtash, RosUkrEnergo and other leading Ukrainian figures of "stripping away all remaining vestiges of an independent judiciary and the rule of law" by replacing the judges with their loyalists, according to Courthouse News.