Skadden Arps Could be Subject to USDoJ Complaint over Ukrainian Deal

Lawfuel.com – Will the US Justice Department investigate one of the world’s largest law firms – Skadden Arps? According to a report in the Kyiv Post, a request from the former Ukrainian Prime Minister to US Attorney General Eric Holder has been made in respect of a financial arrangement between Skadden and the Ukranianiam regime of President Viktor Yanukovych.

The complainant is former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

The Huffington Post reports:

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP (Skadden), an American based international law firm, may be investigated by the US Justice Department.

The Kyiv Post reported former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko asked U.S. Attorney General Holder Eric Holder to review the exchange of money between Skadden and the authoritarian regime of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Yanukovych’s Ministry of Justice commissioned a report regarding the indictment, trial, and conviction of Tymoshenko, Yanukovych’s strongest political rival and most vocal critic. The U.S. Justice Department has not determined if it will comply with the request.

Skadden’s report, released in December 2012, was harshly criticized by the U.S. State Department. In addition, Western governments, including the European Union and the Helsinki Commission, determined Yulia Tymoshenko had been subjected to political retribution through indictment, trial, conviction, and wrongful imprisonment, but the Skadden report found otherwise. Among the findings – politics played no role.

According to the report, “Claims that Tymoshenko’s due process rights were violated because of the improper selection and alleged bias of the judge, the lack of a jury trial, her removal from the courtroom, her being taken into custody during the trial on August 5, and selective prosecution have not been established on the record of this case.” This is an extraordinary conclusion in light of the country’s political environment.

The report, now being used by the Yanukovych regime to legitimize its expanding authoritarianism in the Putin fashion, received a cool international response forcing one of Skadden’s partners to explain the findings.

Some might call it spin. If a legal report has to be clarified then its language is unclear. Imprecise language, unusual for lawyers, could be calculated word play which tries not to offend the paying client, in this case the Yanukovych regime, without opening itself up to criticism from the media, human rights activists, and others. It didn’t work.

The participating attorneys on the report were: Gregory B. Craig, Clifford M. Sloan, Margaret E. Krawiec, Allon Kedem, Alex R. van der Zwaan, Alex T. Haskell, Paul M. Kerlin, and Kara B. Roseen. With the exception of van der Zwaan, who is London, all are based in Washington D.C.

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