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Former Ukrainian PM Sentenced to Nine Years

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko has been sentenced to nine years in prison by a U.S. court for money laundering, extortion and wire fraud.

The judge, Martin Jenkins, also fined Lazarenko $10 million on Friday.

Lazarenko has been under house arrest in California since his 2004 conviction of stealing millions of dollars from Ukraine and laundering it through the United States.

He was prime minister of Ukraine from 1996 to 1997 before seeking political asylum in the U.S. where he was arrested.

Lazarenko has denied the charges, saying he is the victim of a politically motivated conspiracy. He plans to appeal the sentence.

U.S. prosecutors are also seeking a court order forcing Lazarenko to forfeit $23 million. The judge is still reviewing that request.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.