KIEV, January 18 (Itar-Tass) – Ukraine’s Office of the Prosecutor General suspects former Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko, who is currently serving a seven-year jail term, of involvement in the murder of parliament member Yevgeny Shcherban, Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka told reporters Friday.
He indicated that “a report on suspicions” had been handed to Timoshenko earlier in the day. “Charges under this article /of the Criminal Code/ may bring about a life sentence to her,” he said.
“Pretrial investigation materials showing that Timoshenko made out a contract for that murder together with /former prime minister/ Pavel Lazarenko have been gathered,” Pshonka said. “A team of investigators visited Timoshenko earlier today to hand to her the document on suspicions of involvement in a crime.”
According to the information supposedly available to the Prosecutor’s Office, Timoshenko and Lazarenko paid out $ 2.8 million for Shcherban’s assassination. Now the criminal case over the debts of the United Energy Systems of Ukraine company to the Russian Defense Ministry and the Shcherban case have been merged into one.
Yevgeny Shcherban, a deputy of Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada representing the Liberal Party, and his wife were shot and killed November 3, 1996, at the airport of the eastern industrialized city of Donetsk upon arrival from Moscow. The criminals made a getaway from the site of the crime by car.
Shcherban, who was 50 years old at the time of the assassination, and his wife died of wounds on the spot.
Both Timoshenko and Lazarenko vehemently deny any role in that crime.