KIEV, November 9 (Itar-Tass) — Kiev's appeals court on December 13 will meet in a preliminary hearing to review the appeal by former Ukrainian Prime minister Yulia Timoshenko against the verdict in the case passed by the Pechersky district court of the Ukrainian capital. Timoshenko was sentenced to seven years in jail as the court found her guilty of exceeding her authority during the signing of gas contracts with Russia in January 2009.
"Preliminary hearing is set for December 13, but there have no official reports on it," Timoshenko's press office quoted her lawyer Yuri Sukhov as saying.
Timoshenko and her defence handed over an appeal against the October 11 verdict to the Pechersky district court on October 25.
On October 11, the ex premier was sentenced to seven years in prison, with a three-year ban on government jobs and a 189-million-dollar fine in favour of the Naftogaz Ukrainy company.
Judge Rodion Kireyev said there was evidence that the signing of the contacts between Russia's gas giant Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukrainy – contrary to the agreements concluded by the previous Cabinet – "took place solely due to Yulia Timoshenko's illegitimate and individual actions."
Meanwhile, in a new criminal case against Timoshenko, she is accused of making the UESU (Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine) debt to the Russian Defence Ministry, worth 405.5 million dollars, a liability of the Ukrainian budget.
Deputy chairman of the Batkivshchina (Fatherland) Party, former First Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Turchinov stated he knew nothing about the UESU's corporate debt to the Russian Defence Ministry, or whether government guarantees for this debt had been issued.
"If such a debt really existed, Russia would not have waited 15 years to bring forward its claims," Turchinov said.
He noted that the statute of limitations applied to the UESU debt case; also, there are court rulings passed during Leonid Kuchma's presidency.
"I believe they (the authorities) will try to make themselves safe, because an appellate court or the European court will certainly overturn this ignominious "gas" case verdict. Opening a new criminal case aims at preventing Timoshenko from getting out of prison," he said.
Timoshenko headed the UESU corporation in 1995-1997. In June 2011, the ex premier stated there were no debts to the Russian Defence Ministry.