Independent Investigation By Top Washington Law Firm Upholds Tymoshenko Conviction and Says "No Evidence of Political Motivation"

Dec 13, 2012, 07:07 ET from Ukraine Monitor

KYIV, Ukraine, December 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

An in-depth and six-month-long independent investigation led by the former White House Counsel to President Barack Obama has concluded that the abuse of office conviction of Ukraine's former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko was legitimate and that there is no evidence that the trial's verdict was politically motivated.

The study by Washington law firm Skadden Arps and managed by Gregory Craig, a former White House counsel for US President Barack Obama and the lead author, concludes that Mrs Tymoshenko "has provided no factual evidence that would be sufficient to overturn her conviction under European or American standards."

The report also concludes that Yulia Tymoshenko's disruptive conduct in court would have been unacceptable in other countries and would likely have resulted in a contempt of court finding in the United States.

"Our assignment," Mr. Craig was quoted on Thursday as telling The New York Times, " was to look at the evidence in the record and determine whether the trial was fair."

Mrs. Tymoshenko was convicted last year of abuse of office for having improperly signed a $10 billion gas deal in 2009 with Russia's Gazprom.  

The Skadden Arps report documents how Mrs. Tymoshenko overstepped her authority and violated Ukrainian law by ordering the head of Ukraine company NAK Naftogaz  to sign the hugely expensive gas deal with Gazprom even though it lacked the legal approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.  

The Washington report also details how Mrs Tymoshenko, despite unanimous opposition to the deal from her own Cabinet, threatened to fire the head of NAK Naftogaz Ukraine if he did not sign the agreement. It also says that court records show that she deceived the energy company "into believing that the Cabinet of Ministers had approved the agreement after producing an official looking document bearing her signature and the seal of Ukraine's Cabinet of Ministers, despite the fact no such approval had been given."

Although the Skadden Arps report questions certain procedural decisions by the judge, it concludes that these decisions were based on actions by Mrs. Tymoshenko that were designed to disrupt the court's work.

Skadden also reports how the court concluded that Yulia Tymoshenko's actions caused grave economic damage to Ukraine, since the Tymoshenko deal means its citizens continue to pay the highest prices in Europe.

SOURCE Ukraine Monitor