PRAGUE, January 6 (Itar-Tass) —— The Czech Republic has granted political asylum to Alexander Timoshenko, husband of jailed ex-Ukrainian Prime Minister, Batkivshchyna Party leader Yulia Timoshenko, a representative of the Czech Interior Ministry said.
“The Interior Ministry confirms that Alexander Timoshenko applied for political asylum and his request was granted,” he said.
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg made a statement to the effect to the Czech radio on Friday, referring to his negotiations with Czech Interior Minister Jan Kubice. “The negotiations showed that the Interior Ministry had decided to grant him with political asylum,” he said.
The Czech media said earlier in the day that Alexander Timoshenko applied to the Czech authorities for political asylum in late December 2011.
He is already staying on the Czech territory, the Czech Internet portal www.aktualne.cz said.
The political asylum request of Yulia Timoshenko’s husband of to the Czech Republic aims to deprive the Ukrainian authorities of additional levers of pressure on the ex-premier, the Batkivshchyna Party said.
It said the authorities were trying to put pressure on the opposition leader via her family.
“The regime illegally reanimated the 15-year-old criminal cases, which had been stopped by the Supreme Court, and started to persecute the family and friends of the ex-premier,” the party said.
In turn, Timoshenko’s daughter Yevgenia does not plan to seek political asylum in a foreign country so far.
“If the authorities start to persecute her, we may take such decisions,” lawyer Sergei Vlasenko said on Friday.
The Kiev Pechersky District Court sentenced Timoshenko on October 11, 2011, 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. The Kiev Appeals Court upheld the ruling of the Kiev Pechersky Court on December 23.
Timoshenko was transferred to the 54th penitentiary in Kharkov shortly before the New Year.
Timoshenko was also charged with writing off the debt of the United Energy Systems of Ukraine private corporation to the Russian Defense Ministry worth $405,500,000 to the state budget of Ukraine, while being the corporation president, under conspiracy with other former Prime Minister Pavel Lazarenko. Timoshenko chaired the corporation in 1995-1997. She said in June 2011 that there were no debts to the Russian Defense Ministry.
On November 11 the Ukrainian State Tax Service charged ex-CEO of the Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine Corporation Timoshenko with concealing $165 million revenues, embezzling public funds and dodging over 47 million hryvni (about $6 million) in taxes.
The Timoshenko case caused harsh comments from Europe.