A powerful Ukrainian politician was the money man behind a secretive lobbying campaign orchestrated in Europe by disgraced U.S. lobbyist Paul Manafort, leaked emails reveal.
The campaign was meant to convince diplomats and politicians that Ukraine’s jailing of a prominent opposition leader should not prevent the country from signing an association agreement with the European Union.
Manafort’s funder was Serhiy Lovochkin, today a member of the Ukrainian parliament and a leader of its largest opposition party. From 2010 to 2013, he was chief of staff to then-President Viktor Yanukovych, who would later flee to Russia after being overthrown in a popular revolution. Lovochkin had helped run Yanukovych’s election campaign along with Manafort, who later served for a time as chairman of U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.
In a case widely condemned by European leaders as politically motivated, opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko was convicted in October 2011 of harming Ukraine’s national interests during natural gas negotiations with Russia while she was prime minister.
Her sentencing imperiled an important free trade and association agreement between Ukraine and the EU that the Yanukovych administration hoped to sign in 2013.
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