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UKRAINIAN OFFICIAL SWITCHES DEFENSE ATTORNEYS Pavel Lazarenko, the former Ukrainian prime minister facing corruption charges in San Francisco, has replaced his lawyer. The move will push back Lazarenko’s trial date until August. Harold Rosenthal of Riordan & Rosenthal will represent Lazarenko. The politician had been represented by Theodore Cassman of Arguedas, Cassman & Headley. Neither lawyer is commenting on the reason for the switch. Lazarenko is being held in a federal detention facility in Dublin. Rosenthal, however, did emphasize that he is a trial lawyer and is looking forward to putting on a defense in U.S. District Judge Martin Jenkins’ courtroom. Lazarenko faces allegations that he used his official position in the Ukraine to extort money, which was then laundered through a series of foreign banks. He eventually left the country and settled in Marin County, where he purchased an estate that was raided by FBI agents in 1999. He was indicted by a grand jury in 2000. Deposition had been scheduled earlier this month in England, but was canceled due to the change of lawyers. Lazarenko and former Panamanian ruler Manuel Noriega are the only foreign heads of state currently held in U.S. prisons. – Jason Hoppin TRY, TRY AGAIN January hasn’t been a good month for Attorney General Bill Lockyer’s efforts to forward California’s Unfair Competition Law in the courts. On Thursday, the First District Court of Appeal knocked an amicus brief that Lockyer’s office had filed in Lopez v. World Savings, A095666. Just five days earlier, that same San Francisco court — different panel, different issue — had singled out another AG amicus filing, saying the office was inappropriately trying to broaden the state’s Unfair Competition Law, Business & Professions Code � 17200. In Lopez, Lockyer’s office agreed with the plaintiff in the case, who had sued the bank over a $10 loan fee. Myrtle Lopez and her husband, Michael, who had hoped to get class action certification, argued that the bank’s assessment of the fee constituted an unfair and fraudulent practice. The appellate court, on the other hand, agreed with the bank and with a Contra Costa County Superior Court judge, who said that federal regulations trump state law. “Under the interpretation advanced by [Lopez and the attorney general] the [federal Office of Thrift Supervision] would be required to affirmatively express by regulation every power held by a federal institution or risk restrictions by the states. Such an interpretation is based upon neither reason nor common sense,” wrote First District Justice Stuart Pollak. – Jeff Chorney TECH THEFTS The U.S. attorney’s Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property unit has indicted another Chinese engineer on charges of illegally exporting Silicon Valley technology to China. The case against Frank Jiang is the latest in a string of allegations that Silicon Valley engineers stole technology and attempted to smuggle it back to the People’s Republic of China. Jiang, 51, of Cupertino was arraigned Thursday on a charge of illegally exporting microwave amplifiers to the “The 54th Research Institute” — an arm of the Chinese government. Microwave amplifiers have both commercial and military applications and can be used in missile guidance systems. In December, two men were indicted foreconomic espionage, possession of stolen trade secrets, transportation of stolen property, and conspiracy. According to the indictment, Fei Ye, 36, of Cupertino, and Ming Zhong, 35, of San Jose were arrested at San Francisco International Airport with tickets to China. U.S. attorneys allege that their bags were packed with trade secrets from Sun Microsystems Inc., Transmeta Corp., NEC Electronics Corp. and Trident Microsystems Inc. Ye and Zhong’s indictment marked only the second time that federal prosecutors have pursued economic espionage charges since Congress passed legislation in 1996. – Shannon Lafferty

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