KIEV, October 27 (Itar-Tass) — The files in the criminal case of the former prime ministers Yulia Timoshenko and Pavel Lazarenko number 8,000 volumes in the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office. The former Ukrainian deputy general prosecutor Nikolai Obikhod, who headed the investigation in the criminal cases against Yulia Timoshenko in 1997-2002, cited this figure in the Komsomolskaya Pravda in Ukraine.
Obikhod recalled that in 2001 Timoshenko was charged with taking a bribe from Lazarenko (more than 86 million dollars), who serves the sentence in the US prison, Russian gas smuggling at the cost of more than two billion dollars, the foreign currency revenues (more than 180 million dollars) concealed abroad, the evasion of the income tax payments and an office abuse.
The former deputy general prosecutor considers the decision void of principle by the then general prosecutor Svyatoslav Piskun for the termination of the criminal case against Timoshenko in 2005. Obikhod believes that the decision was taken after the repeated run-off presidential elections “over career and political considerations.” “The decision was lawful, therefore, the prosecutor’s office should resume the criminal cases. Why did Piskun terminate a normal and classically investigated criminal case? Make him explain this in public,” Obikhod said.
“I have gathered personally the evidence in the Timoshenko criminal cases and is aware that they are available now, but are lying on the shelves,” he added. “When I am reading the comments on the Timoshenko case in the Internet, the following supposition can always be found there: if there was something criminal, she would have been imprisoned under Kuchma’s rule (the former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma). If she was not imprisoned, so, nothing criminal took place. Under Kuchma’s rule we had to face the counteraction of people, various forces, which were not interested in these cases to be finalized,” Obikhod noted.
The newspaper reports that for Obikhod had never seen the political aspect in the Timoshenko criminal case. “Obikhod’s position is interesting, because he is not a politician and does not work in the law enforcement system, so, he cannot be reproached of fulfilling “some political contract,” the newspaper reported.
Earlier Piskun noted that he personally interrogated incumbent Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka to cancel the previous rulings for the termination of the criminal cases against Yulia Timoshenko, because there was no opportunity to investigate them completely.
Whether this is so or not, but on October 20, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office cancelled the illegal ruling to terminate the criminal case against Timoshenko over the misappropriation of more than 25 million hryvni (3.1 million dollars) of budget funds and the evasion of more than 20 million hryvni (2.5 million dollars) of taxes through a criminal financial scheme for the gas payments by the UES of Ukraine corporation and concealing the revenues from its offshore company. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office appeals the unlawful court rulings over dropping other episodes of criminal activities in this criminal case.
The criminal case was opened against Timoshenko over tax evasion, budget embezzlement in 2001 and was suspended in January 2005. Timoshenko is charged under two articles – Article 191 Part 5 and Article 212 Part 3 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code. The first article envisages up to 12 years in prison and the second one – up to eight years in prison.
Meanwhile, the Prosecutor General’s Office may resume another two criminal cases against Timoshenko over the misappropriation of the so-called ‘Kyoto money’ and ambulances. The criminal cases were suspended until a final verdict in ‘the gas case’.
On October 11, the Pechorsky District Court of Kiev sentenced Timoshenko to seven years in prison for abuse of power in the signing of the gas contracts with Russia in 2009.