KIEV, October 24 (Itar-Tass) — The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office on October 20 cancelled the illegal decision on the termination of the criminal case against former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko on the facts of embezzlement of more than 25 million hryvnas (3.1 million US dollars) from the national budget and tax evasion worth more than 20 million hryvnas (2.5 million US dollars) by means of introducing a criminal financial scheme for the natural gas settlements by Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU) and concealment of income from the activity of its offshore company, the press service of the Prosecutor General’s Office reported on Monday.
Simultaneously, the Prosecutor General’s Office challenged under cassational procedure the illegal court decision on closing other episodes of criminal activity within this criminal case. The pre-trial investigation in the case is conducted by the tax police, the report says.
Former Deputy Prosecutor General Nikolai Obikhod earlier said that the criminal cases in which Timoshenko has been charged over the past 15 years have not been fully examined yet. Among them he named a bribe to (former Prime Minister Pavel) Lazarenko worth 86 million US dollars, the smuggling of Russian natural gas, the debt to the RF Defence Ministry worth 405 million US dollars, tax evasion, concealment of foreign currency earnings from the UESU income worth 87 million hryvnas (more that 10 million US dollars).
“Yulia Timoshenko has left a chain of crimes that have not been fully investigated, because after coming to power she did everything to freeze or terminate their investigation,” Obikhod said.
On October 13, head of the Central Investigation Department of the Ukrainian Security Service Ivan Derevyanko said that a new criminal case - for imposing debts of Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine on the country’s budget has been opened against Yulia Timoshenko. The investigation accuses the former prime minister of transferring the UESU debt to the Russian Defence Ministry worth 405.5 million US dollars to the state budget.
Yulia Timoshenko in 1995-1997 headed the UESU corporation. This June, the former prime minister said that she had no debts to the RF Ministry of Defence.
On October 11, the Pechersky District Court of Kiev sentenced Yulia Timoshenko to 7 years in prison for abuse of office when signing natural gas contracts with Russia in 2009.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Konstantin Grishchenko has denied politics behind the Timoshenko criminal case. “It’s very bad when opposition leaders are prosecuted, but this is different - this is a matter of government responsibility,” Grishchenko said at the PACE replying to questions from parliamentarians in early October. “The only instance that can solve all questions is the court,” the minister said.
Grishchenko believes that Timoshenko was brought to account not for political reasons, but for activities against the interests of the state. “A prime minister cannot and has no right to make such decisions alone. The gas contracts made under her leadership were, to put it mildly, not in favour of Ukraine,” he said.
He assured the PACE that Kiev is more interested in an independent investigation of the Timoshenko case. “I would not like to make any statements that could be taken as pressure on the court,” he said.
Nevertheless, he admitted, when speaking of the Timoshenko case, that Ukraine needs to carry out a judicial and legal reform, and expressed readiness to cooperate on this issue with the Council of Europe.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich on October 17 confirmed that European integration remains an unchangeable priority for his country. “European choice is the choice of the Ukrainian people. Ukraine’s integration to the European Union has been underway for many years. Much has been done to come closer to this goal because this issue is of paramount importance for us,” Yanukovich said in an interview with foreign mass media.
Yanukovich earlier called for integration and further admission of his country to the European Union. “Our main priority is integration into the European Union,” Yanukovich said. “We are ready to sign an agreement on association this year. And we want this agreement to mention prospects for Ukraine's admission to the European Union so that it is not a hollow document,” he said. Ukraine and the EU began negotiations on a new basic agreement in March 2007 and on the creation of a free trade zone in February 2008. In September 2008, Ukraine and the EU agreed to sign a new reinforced agreement on the principles of Ukraine's association, which would include the creation of a free trade zone.