Prosecutor summons Tymoshenko
Dec. 2, 2010, 11:59 a.m. | Politics
— by Reuters
Ukrainian ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the main opponent of President Viktor Yanukovych, has been called into the state prosecutor's office for questioning on Thursday, her aides said.
"The Prosecutor General has heightened its political terror against the opposition Batkivshchina political party," a statement issued by her press service said.
It said Yanukovich, who beat Tymoshenko for the presidency last February, had told the prosecutor general to step up action against the opposition and "destroy" her Batkivshchina party.
Political tension is rising over the fate of a proposed new tax reform plan which has brought thousands of small business owners out on to the streets in protest.
Tymoshenko, with other leaders from the fragmented opposition, has sought to capitalise on the situation by siding with the protesters and denouncing the proposed new tax code.
Yanukovich has vetoed an initial draft of the code. A new version comes up for discussion in parliament on Friday.
Tymoshenko says she and her allies are the victims of a witch-hunt and that the Yanukovich camp is trying to neutralise her as a political force.
An international audit ordered by the Yanukovych leadership said in mid-October that Tymoshenko's former government had misappropriated millions of dollars. Her aides dismissed the accusations as a "politically motivated" exercise.
Ukraine's new state prosecutor is continuing an investigation of Tymoshenko's ally and former Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko on accusations of abuse of office and theft.
Two other senior officials in the last government, the former head of customs and the former acting chief executive of state energy firm Naftogaz, were detained earlier this year in what Tymoshenko has described as "political repression."