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Ukraine's high specialized court upholds Timoshenko's "gas" case rulings

August 29, 2012, 14:05 UTC+3

The former prime minister was sentenced to seven years in jail

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KIEV, August 29 (Itar-Tass) — Ukraine’s high specialized court for civil and criminal cases upheld the rulings on the "gas case" against former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko, Judge Alexander Yelfimov stated.

"A panel of judges arrived at the conclusion that the cassational appeal by lawyer Plakhotnyuk in the interests of the convicted Timoshenko and the appeals by lawyers Vlasenko and Titarenko cannot be granted," Yelfimov said.

Last year, the Pechora district court and the Kiev appeals court found Timoshenko guilty of exceeding her authority when signing gas supply contracts with Russia in January 2009. The former prime minister was sentenced to seven years in jail. Taking part in the Wednesday hearing were former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski. Timoshenko was not present. Her supporters rallied near the court building.

Earlier, the Kiev district court of Kharkov postponed, to September 11, the hearing of another criminal case against Timoshenko, leader of the Ukrainian Opposition, over financial abuse at the Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine /UESU/ which she headed in 1995-1997. The hearing was delayed due to the defendant’s health problems.

The trial of the second criminal case against Timoshenko began on April 28. The court has held six hearings since. The review is at an impasse.

Prosecutors said Timoshenko was accused within the framework of the new case of masterminding the theft of budget funds, attempted theft of 25 million hrivna /more than 3 million dollars/, 4-million-hrivna /500,000 dollars/ tax evasion, and using a credit card of a foreign company to pay almost one million dollars worth of bills at expensive hotels and restaurants without reporting the sum to the tax authorities.

According to the indictment, Timoshenko, as president of the UESU private company, planned and carried through a scheme to imitate transfers through the Golden Union Offshore Bank on Cyprus and the Yuzhkombank she controlled. The scheme involved two companies subordinate to Timoshenko: Somolli Enterprises Limited and Corlan Enterprises Limited; they, too, were used to imitate fund transfers.

The accomplices to this crime are her farther in law Gennady Timoshenko who died this last May. He was UESU director general. The other accomplice is the former chief accountant of this company who was a deputy director general.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office /PGO/ suspects the ex premier of involvement in the murder of lawmaker Yevgeny Shcherban.

"We have enough grounds to bring charges against her," First Deputy Prosecutor General Renat Kuzmin said earlier. He reminded that the case against the perpetrators of Shcherban's murder in November 1996 "was investigated and sent to court, which passed a verdict."

However, the proceedings against the masterminds made a separate case. It was investigated by personnel of the PGO's central office.

Lawmaker Shcherban and his wife were killed at the Donetsk airport on November 3, 1996. The investigator and the court ascertained that they had been shot and killed at the airport by a criminal group.

On April 5, 2012, the PGO reopened the Shcherban murder probe, following the statement by the diseased person's son. Ruslan Shcherban passed a number of documents to the investigators.

Prosecutors believe that the crime was funded by former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavel Lazarenko, who is serving a sentence in the USA for money laundering, and Yulia Timoshenko who headed the Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine corporation then.

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