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Ukrainian Government Unit Sues in U.S. - Alleges Corrupt Scheme in Vaccine Purchases

PORTLAND, Ore., Sept. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- A unit of the Government of Ukraine today filed suit in federal court in Portland, Oregon against a U.S. company that is alleged to be part of an international conspiracy involving the fraudulent sale of vaccines and other pharmaceuticals.  The case was brought by Ukrvaktsina – the Ukrainian state-owned enterprise responsible for the procurement and storage of medicines and medical supplies for Ukraine's Ministry of Health.  The suit seeks damages for fraud, conspiracy and violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO").  

The complaint alleges that from 2008 through 2009, the U.S. company – Olden Group, LLC, which is owned by offshore companies registered in Belize and the South Pacific island of Niue – played a key role in a conspiracy to unlawfully mark-up the price of millions of doses of vaccines which were intended for use in the Ukrainian public health system.  According to the complaint, Olden Group and the other conspirators used offshore shell companies to launder the cash proceeds of the scheme through banks in Latvia, the United States and elsewhere.  The scheme is alleged to have involved more than US$50 million in payments by Ukrvaktsina and the Government of Ukraine over a period of several years.  

This case represents the first court action arising out of a comprehensive anti-corruption investigation ordered by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine in May 2010.  That investigation has been led by the Washington, D.C. law firm of Trout Cacheris, PLLC, in collaboration with the international investigative firm Kroll, Inc. and the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, LLP.

Speaking from Washington, D.C., Plato Cacheris said, "The action that was filed today is in the courts of the United States because the Government of Ukraine believes that these cases should be litigated in a legal arena that is transparent and will assure the best prospect of recovery."

Co-counsel Mark MacDougall of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, LLP added, "The leadership in Kiev is committed to exposing corruption no matter where the trail may lead.  This case is just the first public action to be taken outside Ukraine as a result of the Government's extensive anti-corruption investigation, but will likely not be the last."  

The lawsuit was filed jointly by Trout Cacheris, PLLC and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, LLP.

SOURCE Trout Cacheris, PLLC
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