KIEV, Ukraine — The government of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko misappropriated nearly half a billion dollars, according to an audit by three US investigative companies firms released Thursday.
The three firms were hired by the government of President Viktor Yanukovych. Tymoshenko was the main driving force behind the 2004 Orange Revolution street protests that threw out Yanukovych's fraud-tainted election victory. But Yanukovych won February's presidential vote amid public discontent over economic problems and vicious infighting in the Orange camp.
The auditors charged that Tymoshenko's government committed fraud and resorted to "classic international money laundering mechanisms" while buying sugar, vaccines, importing expensive foreign cars and even selling carbon credits to other countries.