Saturday, October 16, 2010

The "audit" scandal - crazy, in many ways, including this (Kyiv Post):

[...] When asked how much tax payers’ money was and will be spent on the U.S. lawyers and investigators, Plato Cacheris with Trout Cacheris law firm said “it was much less than the money stolen” and would not elaborate further.

In turn, Ukraine’s Finance Ministry also refused to reveal any details, calling it a commercial secret.

A senior government official told the Kyiv Post that $2 million in state budget funds had been spent on the first stage of the audit.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on the issue, said the aim was to recover a sum up to 100 times larger than the firms’ fees.

The official added that two further stages of investigations are planned, which will cost roughly the same each.

“So far we have done what we needed to. But there is a high possibility the Cabinet will ask us to do some other things,” Cacheris told Kyiv Post.

And this:

[...] Kroll and Akin Gump are not new to Ukraine.

After the murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze, Kroll was hired in 2001 by then-President Leonid Kuchma’s son-in-law Viktor Pinchuk to probe the case. In the end the firm issued a report saying Kuchma wasn’t involved, which was widely viewed an attempt to absolve him from suspicion arising from alleged discussions he had with senior officials about dealing with the journalist.

Akin Gump lawyers have also had experience working in Ukraine.

The firm’s lawyers have in the past defended Ukraine’s richest oligarchs and strongest Yanukovych’s backers – Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest man, and gas tycoon Dmytro Firtash.

At times these firms have pressured investigative journalists who write stories about both Ukrainian businessmen by threatening to file lawsuits against them. [...]

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