U.S. court dismisses Gazprom's appeal in Lazarenko case
MOSCOW, January 24 - RAPSI. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has dismissed Gazprom's appeal against a district court judgment dismissing its $140 million in claims from the proceedings over former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavel Lazarenko's accounts, according to the court records made available to the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/rapsinews.com).
The United States seeks to recover $260 million from Lazarenko's bank accounts in Switzerland, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Antigua and the Channel Islands.
The United States claims Lazarenko obtained the funds through illegal activities. Earlier, the former PM was sent to prison for money laundering in the United States.
However, several companies, including the receiver of the Antigua-based EuroFed Bank and the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, have also claimed Lazarenko's funds.
Gazprom prosecuted Lazarenko on the theory that he stole more than $140 million, to which Gazprom "was legally entitled" under a contract with United Energy Systems of Ukraine.
However, the U.S. court excluded Gazprom from the case, as the U.S. government's position does not concur with Russian law, which defines Gazprom's interests.
Gazprom appealed the decision. The monopoly maintains that the case should not be tried under U.S. law as the disputed funds are deposited outside the United States.
Rather, Gazprom wants each claim to be heard under the law of the country where it is filed.
Lazarenko was Ukraine's PM from 1996 to 1997. He was sentenced to nine years in prison in the United States in August 2006 after a long trial.