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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 June, 2004, 20:10 GMT 21:10 UK
US jury convicts ex-Ukrainian PM
Pavlo Lazarenko
Lazarenko has been charged with murder in his native Ukraine
Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko has been convicted in the US of money-laundering and extortion.

A federal jury in San Francisco, California, found him guilty of using his position to get rich through a series of business schemes.

Lazarenko - who was Ukrainian prime minister from 1996 to 1997 - denied siphoning funds, saying his fortune was earned legitimately.

He has not been sentenced yet, and could face up to five years in jail.

According to the US government, Lazarenko set up bank accounts to launder profits made through clandestine schemes in Ukraine.

Prosecutors said $114m had been directed to US banks - based mostly in San Francisco.

Lazarenko, 51, fled to the US in 1999 and sought asylum saying he had faced assassination attempts.

A year later the Ukrainian authorities requested his extradition after charging him over the 1996 killing of a prominent Ukrainian politician and two attempts on the lives of high-ranking officials.

Ukraine MPs back murder probe
05 Mar 02  |  Europe
Kuchma rejects Ukraine murder claims
27 Feb 01  |  Media reports
Kuchma urges Lazarenko extradition
01 Jul 00  |  Media reports

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