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Investigators to check Timoshenko involvement in murder case

October 29, 2011, 5:54 UTC+3

The investigation intends to determine whether Timoshenko is implicated in the murder of Ukrainian parliamentarian Shcherban in 1996

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KIEV, October 29 (Itar-Tass) — The investigation intends to determine whether former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko is implicated in the murder of Ukrainian parliamentarian Yevgeny Shcherban in 1996, the country’s First Deputy Prosecutor General Renat Kuzmin said on Ukraine’s TV channel Inter on Saturday.

“The history of Timoshenko – is a many-year history linked with various crimes, including, possibly, contract killings,” Kuzmin said.

The criminal case against Yulia Timoshenko over the fact of bribery of officials of the RF Ministry of Defence when she was head of the United Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU) corporation was terminated on non-exonerating grounds, Renat Kuzmin said.

“Officials of the Russian Ministry of Defence were convicted for bribery and other violations committed in favour of UESU, and Timoshenko was found guilty of organising bribery,” he said. “And the case was against Timoshenko was dismissed under the statute of limitations, in particular,” Kuzmin said.

Beginning in May 2010, a number of criminal cases were opened against Timoshenko. Also a number of criminal cases were opened against officials from the second Timoshenko Government. According to Ukrainian officials, those cases were indiscriminately made to fight corruption in Ukraine.

Timoshenko’s trial (she was charged in May 2011) over abuse of office over a natural gas imports contract signed with Russia in January 2009 started on 24 June 2011. Former President and former ally of Timoshenko Viktor Yushchenko testified against her during the trail; a trial he called “a normal judicial process.”

Early July 2011 Ukrainian security service opened a new criminal investigation into alleged non-delivery by United Energy Systems of Ukraine (in 1996) of goods to Russia for $405.5 million, therefore, they say, may be Russia’s claims to the State budget of Ukraine (this criminal case was closed in Russia in December 2005 years by reason of lapse of time). Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov (Russian Ministry of Defence) said that Russia has long since forgiven debt corporation UESU and closed the case against Yulia Timoshenko: “The new criminal case - it's cheating.”

On 5 August 2011 Timoshenko was arrested for ‘ridiculing court proceedings.’ In jail Timoshenko was reported to develop a “mysterious ailment.” According to Ombudsman Nina Karpachova, she was suffering from throat problems and had a fever. Timoshenko is being held at Lukyanovskaya Prison.

On 11 October 2011, the court found Timoshenko guilty of abuse of power, sentenced her to seven years in jail, and ordered to pay the state $188 million. She was convicted for exceeding her powers as Prime Minister, by ordering Naftogaz to sign the gas deal with Russia in 2009. The judge also banned her from seeking elected office for her period of imprisonment (disqualifying her from participation in the 2012 parliamentary and 2015 presidential elections). Authorities had deployed hundreds of police officers near the court, which was picketed by about 2,000 Timoshenko supporters. Some minor clashes broke out and some arrests were made after the verdict was announced. Timoshenko did appeal against the sentence on 24 October 2011, which she compared to Stalin’s Great Terror. Timoshenko and her followers saw the trial as political payback by President Viktor Yanukovich, and his Party of Regions. Both have denied this. President Yanukovich and other Government officials have hinted that the law that convicted Timoshenko could be changed in her benefit. According to opposition politicians, this could have been done as soon as one week after Timoshenko’s conviction. However on 18 October 2011 the Party of Regions refused to vote for an amendment decriminalizing abuse of office.


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