Under pressure at home from three criminal probes, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko took her battle with President Viktor Yanukovych to a U.S. court, suing a billionaire with close ties to her political rival for alleged racketeering that defrauded Ukrainians of billions of dollars in natural gas.
In court documents filed in April, Tymoshenko accuses Dmytro Firtash, a gas trader and chemicals magnate close to Yanukovych, of manipulating an international arbitration court ruling to defraud Ukrainians of strategic gas reserves. Firtash has denied all wrongdoing.
The lawsuit also accuses the Ukrainian government of colluding with Swiss-registered gas trader RosUkrEnergo, which Firtash co-owns with Russian energy giant Gazprom, to obtain the gas. It effectively alleges that leading government officials are acting in the interests of Firtash rather than the nation’s 46 million citizens.