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Swiss court upholds ex-Ukraine MP's money-laundering conviction

ZURICH, Oct 26 (Reuters) - A Swiss court has upheld the conviction of former Ukrainian lawmaker Mykola Martynenko for laundering via Swiss banks millions of dollars worth of kickbacks for awarding overpriced contracts.

In the verdict released on Monday, the Federal Criminal Court also kept in place the conviction of a second Ukrainian national described in court documents as Martynenko’s financial adviser for helping to launder bribes worth around 2.9 million euros ($3.4 million) between 2009 and 2011.

The court sentenced Martynenko to 28 months in prison, of which 16 were suspended. He was also handed a suspended fine of 250,000 Swiss francs and will have to forfeit around 3.8 million francs ($4.2 million) to Swiss authorities.

His unnamed co-defendant was given a suspended 24-month sentence and fine.

Martynenko was accused of having been part of a group that awarded multi-million-dollar contracts for nuclear fuel equipment to a Czech-based company in return for bribes.

His lawyer, Reza Vafadar, said in an emailed statement to Reuters that any conviction for aggravated money laundering required the establishment of a prior crime, whereas no one had been convicted of any such crime in Switzerland or Ukraine.

“In our opinion, this procedure is not based on concrete factual and legal elements. My client, whose presumption of innocence has been violated from 2013 until today, is innocent,” he added.

The case against Martynenko at Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption court is continuing. ($1 = 0.8442 euros) ($1 = 0.9043 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Michael Shields, additional reporting by Natalia Zinets in KIEV, editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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