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SBU requests re-arrest of Timoshenko for gravity of crimes

December 08, 2011, 1:28 UTC+3
The Court Judge made a decision to hold a visiting court session in the ward of the Lukyanovsky prison in which Timoshenko is held
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Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

IEV, December 8 (Itar-Tass) — The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) has applied to the Shevchenko District Court of Kiev with a representation to arrest the ex-Prime Minister, leader of the opposition party Batkivshchnia (Fatherland), Yulia Timoshenko “taking into account the severity of the former prime minister’s crimes and their repeated commission.” The SBU press centre made this statement on Wednesday.

“The current criminal-procedural legislation of Ukraine provides for the possibility to choose the measure of restraint against a person who was convicted for another crime. Moreover, the law provides for the possibility of choosing a measure of restrain against a person, even if the person is serving a sentence in a penal institution,” the SBU press centre explained.

The agency also recalled that the Main Investigation Department of the SBU is handling a criminal case against ex-premiers Pavel Lazarenko and Timoshenko over attempted embezzlement in 1996-2000 of state budget funds in the amount of 405 million US dollars. In addition, the tax service was investigating a criminal case against Timoshenko over the organisation of concealment of currency earnings in excess of 165 million US dollars, unlawful compensation of budget funds and tax evasion on a large scale.

“Given that the crimes were committed by one person, the Prosecutor General’s Office determined that all the crimes fall under the jurisdiction of the SBU investigators. The SBU Main Investigation Department consolidated the cases and created a single investigation team,” the SBU press centre said.

The Shevchenko District court of Kiev was expected on Wednesday night to consider the re-arrest of Timoshenko. The Court Judge Andrei Trubnikov made a decision to hold a visiting court session in the ward of the Lukyanovsky prison in which Timoshenko is held.

On October 11, the ex premier was sentenced within the so-called "gas" case 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.”

On October 13, head of the main investigation department of Ukraine's Security Service (SBU) Ivan Derevyanko stated that a new criminal case had been opened against former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko for making a 405.5-million-dollar debt of the Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU) a liability of the country's budget.

Timoshenko headed the UESU corporation in 1995-1997. In June 2011, the ex premier stated there were no debts to the Russian Defence Ministry.

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 Lukyanovsky Prison. Visits to her are restricted.

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, after postponing the vote twice, the Parliament of Ukraine voted against decriminalizing abuse of office on 15 November 2011.

A 2001 criminal case on state funds embezzlement and tax evasion charges against Timoshenko was reopened in Ukraine on 24 October 2011. Since late October 2011 Ukrainian prosecutors are investigating whether Timoshenko was involved in the murder of Yevgeny Shcherban. With that Timoshenko was under criminal investigation for ten criminal acts; prosecutors have claimed she had committed more criminal acts. On 4 November 2011 the Ukrainian tax police resumed four criminal cases against Timoshenko. She was charged for these cases on 10 November 2011.

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