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Review of new case against Timoshenko to continue at Kharkov court

May 21, 2012, 9:13 UTC+3

The public prosecution group intends to appeal for the hearing’s postponement

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KIEV, May 21 (Itar-Tass) — The Kiev District Court of Kharkov on Monday will continue the consideration of the criminal case against former Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Timoshenko regarding the operation of the United Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU) corporation. The court meeting is to begin at 11:00, Moscow time.

The public prosecution group intends to appeal for the hearing’s postponement. Its representative Viktor Lobach said that the medical commission after examining Timoshenko recommended not to interrupt her rehabilitation process and called against the defendant’s transportation from the Kharkov hospital to court.

The defence lawyers of the former prime minister also believe that the court hearing should be postponed in order to allow Timoshenko to complete the medical treatment. According to her lawyer Sergei Vlasenko, he is preparing for different scenarios of action during the upcoming trial. “We do not know what to expect on May 21. We are preparing for the hearing of the case both in the presence of Yulia Timoshenko and in her absence,” he said. According to Vlasenko, the court has demonstrated bias in the consideration of this case, and “what will happen next – is unknown.”

Within the new criminal case Timoshenko is charged with organising the concealment of currency earnings when she headed UESU, with organiing repeated tax evasion totalling more than 16 million hryvnaa (over 2 million US dollars), embezzlement and attempted embezzlement of budget funds by illegal compensation of the VAT worth more than 25 million hryvnas (over 3 million US dollars), forgery and attempted embezzlement of 405.5 million dollars from the state budget. Timoshenko led the UESU corporation, which engaged in the natural gas imports, in the period from 1995 to 1997.

According to Ukrainian First Deputy Prosecutor General Renat Kuzmin, the former prime minister soon could be charged with complicity in the murder of parliament member Yevgeny Shcherban in 1996.

On October 11, 2011, the Pechersk District Court of Kiev sentenced Timoshenko to seven years in prison for overstepping her authority during the signing of natural gas contracts with Russia in January 2009. Timoshenko's lawyers have appealed in court this ruling of the court. On December 23, the court of appeals upheld the sentence to Timoshenko. Timoshenko has also been barred from holding public positions for three years and has to pay a penalty of 189 million US dollars in damages to Naftogaz Ukrainy. In late December 2011, Timoshenko was transferred from the investigation prison to a correctional facility in the eastern Kharkov region.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov has categorically denied allegations of “political persecution” of the opposition in the country and in order to confirm his words he has invited European lawyers to participate in Timoshenko’s trial.





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