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Court denies recusal of prosecutor in Timoshenko trial

April 19, 2012, 18:08 UTC+3
Timoshenko's lawyer asked the court to drop the criminal case against Timoshenko, leader of the Batkivshchina /Fatherland/ Opposition bloc
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KHARKOV, April 19 (Itar-Tass) — The Kiev district court of Kharkov denied recusal of prosecutor Viktor Lobach, demanded by the lawyer of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko.

The Opposition lawmakers present at the hearing, responded to the ruling by shouting "Shame" at the judge.

Timoshenko's lawyer earlier demanded recusal of the prosecutor because of the latter's "biased attitude to Timoshenko which he demonstrated in his speech."

Meanwhile, the lawyer asked the court to drop the criminal case against Timoshenko, leader of the Batkivshchina /Fatherland/ Opposition bloc. Timoshenko is accused of misuse of office as head of the Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine /UESU/.

"I insist on dropping this falsified case in connection with a lack of corpus delicti in Timoshenko's actions," Vlasenko stated. He added that statute of limitations applied to all the episodes of crime within the case.

In Vlasenko's opinion, the Kharkov court has no jurisdiction to review the case. The trial must be held in Dnepropetrovsk, the place of the legal address of the UESU corporation, but a still better venue would be Kiev's Podolsky court because Yulia Timoshenko had worked in the Podolsky district of the Ukrainian capital.

The lawyer accused presiding judge Konstantin Sadovsky of repeated violation of the Criminal Procedure Code and ignoring the jurisdiction of the case.

On Thursday, the Kiev district court began to consider a new criminal case against Yulia Timoshenko. She headed the UESU in 1995-1997. Timoshenko, who is serving a 7-year sentence at the Kachanovskaya penitentiary in Kharkov for exceeding her authority in signing gas contracts with Russia in 2009, was not present at the Thursday hearing.

The prosecutor noted that Timoshenko was accused of very serious crimes, including the schemes that caused damage to Ukraine’s state budget and tax evasion.

"The investigators have enough evidence that she had taken money from foreign firms that enabled her to lead a luxurious life," Lobach said.

The sum of the taxes Timoshenko failed to pay made up 700,000 hrivnas /87,500 dollars/ which was much money for a majority of Ukrainians in the late 1990s.

Deputy head of the office for support of the prosecutor for the state Viktoria Kalita said Timoshenko had used a foreign company card to pay for items of luxury worth one million dollars.

"She used the card to pay for services at expensive hotels, restaurants, and bought expensive goods and furs. Having used up the money on the card, she did not pay a penny to the budget," Kalita said. 

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