KIEV, November 1 (Itar-Tass) —— The Party of Regions faction in the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada will not vote for decriminalization of Article 365 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code on November 4, faction head Alexander Yefremov said on Tuesday. Ex-Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko was convicted of a crime defined by that article.
“We do not mind the hearing of a bill on humanization of economic crime laws on Friday [on November 4] but we will not support it,” he said. If the amendments comply with UN requirements, the Party of Regions may vote for them, he added. “If an acceptable format is proposed to limit abuse by public officers, we will back it,” Yefremov said.
Deputies of the opposition faction of the Yulia Timoshenko Bloc unblocked the parliament rostrum earlier in the day when Speaker Vladimir Litvin said that the leaders of parliament factions had reached a compromise and agreed to hear the bill on decriminalization of some articles of the Ukrainian Criminal Code on November 4.
The court sentenced Timoshenko on October 11 to seven years in prison for exceeding her authority in the signing of the gas contracts with Russia in 2009. She was also compelled to pay 1.51 billion hryvni (almost $200 million) to Neftegaz Ukrainy. A new case against Timoshenko was initiated on October 12. Detectives said that Timoshenko, while being the president of the United Energy Systems of Ukraine private corporation, under conspiracy with other former Prime Minister Pavel Lazarenko wrote off the corporation’s debt to the Russian Defense Ministry worth $405,500,000 to the state budget of Ukraine.
The Russian Defense Ministry sent a letter to Ukraine demanding the payment of the debt. Timoshenko chaired the corporation in 1995-1997. She said in June 2011 that there were no debts to the Russian Defense Ministry.