News from and about Ukraine & Ukrainians: Ukrainian Community Press Releases
BRAMA, June 5, 2000, 5:00pm EST
Statement from US Defense Team for Lazarenko
LEAD ATTORNEY: MICHAEL HANDWERKER
ROSS, SUCHOFF, HANKIN, MAIDENBAUM, HANDWERKER
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
New York - On the eve of President Clinton's trip to Ukraine to meet with President Leonid Kuchma, the former Prime Minister of Ukraine, Pavel Lazarenko, held in detention in California, has coincidentally been indicted by the US Department of Justice for money laundering.
Lazarenko has been under investigation for the last two years by the FBI and the IRS, the spokesperson for the US Attorney's office said. He stated that they will be working with Swiss authorities in order to negotiate for precedence. A request to delay extradition will be issued in order to allow the US to proceed with its hearings and legal motions.
The money laundering indictment stems from the political twisting of the facts surrounding enterprises that President Kuchma also participated in.
Mr. Lazarenko's US Defense Team has the substantiating documents showing bank accounts and copies of the wire transfers verifying these participating distributions to President Kuchma.
President Kuchma and Pavel Lazarenko were close friends, political and business partners until Mr. Lazarenko decided to run for President of Ukraine. At that point they became bitter rivals. The Current Washington administration has always supported Kuchma's regime.
Beginning in 1990 after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Lazarenko owned numerous commercial enterprises in complete compliance and within the laws existing in Ukraine. Kuchma knew about Lazarenko's successful commercial enterprises when he as president appointed Lazarenko to be the First Vice Prime Minister in 1995, and promoted him to Prime Minister in 1996.
President Kuchma, from 1995 through 1998, received regular distributions from the commercial enterprises controlled by Pavel Lazarenko. So these subsequent official appointments bestowed on Lazarenko by President Kuchma underline the fact that the commercial activities of Lazarenko were completely accepted, condoned, and in fact, participated in by President Kuchma.
Mr. Lazarenko's arraignment is expected to take place at 9:30 on Tuesday June 13th, 2000 before the Hon. Martin J. Jenkins, United States District Judge, Northern District of California. Mr. Lazarenko will plead not guilty and he is looking forward to aggressively challenging these charges in a court of law.
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