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Former Ukrainian PM Tymoshenko Files Racketeering Lawsuit in US Court

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko speaks during an interview in Kiev, Ukraine (File Photo)

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has filed a lawsuit in an American court against natural gas company RosUkrEnergy and one of its co-owners, Ukrainian Dmytro Firtash.

The class action lawsuit was filed on Tuesday on behalf of the Ukrainian people in the U.S. district court in New York. Tymoshenko accuses Firtash and RosUkrEnergy of conspiring to manipulate a Swedish arbitration court ruling, which she says robbed Ukraine of natural gas supplies.

The case stems from a ruling last year that Ukraine’s state run energy company (NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy) owed RosUkrEnergy 12.1 billion cubic meters of gas for fuel it had "expropriated."

The lawsuit says the ruling deprived the Ukrainian people of fuel the government had already paid for and allowed Firtash to reap huge amounts of money when the gas was resold on the open market.

The suit was filed under an American statute that allows actions in U.S. courts to uphold international law as well as a racketeering and corrupt practices act.

Tymoshenko is currently under investigation by the government for allegedly abusing power in a natural gas deal signed with Russia in 2009 when she was prime minister.

Since her political rival Viktor Yanukovich took office, Tymoshenko has been charged in two other criminal cases involving alleged misuse of funds. She says the charges are politically motivated.