9th Circ. Says Feds Must Return $2.5M To Ex-Ukraine PM

Law360 (January 6, 2011, 4:27 PM EST) -- The U.S. government must return about $2.5 million in assets seized from convicted money launderer and former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko to liquidators of a bank he once controlled, the Ninth Circuit has ruled.

The U.S. is not entitled to the asssets, since prosecutors bungled a civil forfeiture proceeding against Lazarenko, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled Monday, finding that a final judgment on civil forfeiture acts as res judicata in an accompanying criminal forfeiture proceeding.

“Only when the government bumbles...
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