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Tymoshenko faces fresh criminal probe (updated)

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July 5, 2011, 6:45 p.m. | Politics — by Reuters

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, right, and her lawyer Nikolai Titarenko as Judge Rodion Kireyev, left, looks on during a trial hearing at the Pecherskiy District Court in Kiev on Jule 4, 2011.
© AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov

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Ukraine's state security service SBU said on Tuesday it had launched a criminal case linked to the affairs of an energy company once run by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Tymoshenko, a popular opposition politician, is on trial charged with abuse of office over a 2009 gas deal with Russia and is the target of two other criminal cases relating to her activities as prime minister.

She has dismissed all charges as politically motivated and accused the government of President Viktor Yanukovich, who narrowly beat her in the 2010 presidential election, of cracking down on opposition.

SBU said in a statement that United Energy Systems of Ukraine, a company that once imported Russian gas for resale in Ukraine, along with some former government officials, had tried to steal $405 million from the state budget.

Tymoshenko ran United Energy Systems in 1995-96, earning herself the nickname "gas princess".

She already faces up to 10 years' prison if found guilty on abuse of power charges and her case has raised concerns in the West, clouding Ukraine's plans to forge an association deal with the European Union.

In the current trial, the prosecution alleges that Tymoshenko, who was twice prime minister, forced the then-head of state-owned Naftogaz to sign the 2009 deal with Russia's Gazprom without consulting her government. Tymoshenko denies this.

Yanukovich's administration says the agreement was a sell-out of national interests, though it is abiding by the terms.


BITTER RIVALRY

Separate cases are pending against Tymoshenko over alleged misuse of funds received in exchange for carbon emission quotas and over purchases of emergency rescue cars by her government.

Since Yanukovich came to power, several former members of Tymoshenko's cabinet have been prosecuted for alleged offences in office and at least one has fled Ukraine.

Western governments have not publicly supported Tymoshenko but have expressed concerns over the possible use of "selective justice" in Ukraine and "the appearance of a political motive" in her case.

Yanukovich has repeatedly denied that politics was involved and said his government was merely fighting corruption.

Tymoshenko's fiery rhetoric brought her international fame as a leader of the 2004 "Orange Revolution" street demonstrations that ultimately doomed Yanukovich's first bid for the presidency.

She went on to serve two terms as prime minister under ex-President Viktor Yushchenko, her Orange Revolution ally, although their relationship quickly soured.

Early last year, frustrated with the "orange" leadership's handling of the global economic crisis and infighting between Tymoshenko and Yushchenko, voters punished the duo in the presidential election, handing victory to Yanukovich. Tymoshenko remains one of the most popular politicians in the country but has so far failed to unite other opposition figures around her.
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Anonymous July 5, 2011, 8:53 p.m.    

Another probe while she's already on trial?! This really is harassment and persecution.

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Anonymous July 6, 2011, 12:02 a.m.    

Who cares if the statute of limitations expired !! My KGB comrade Putin The Lilliputian told me to ignore the law !!

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Anonymous July 5, 2011, 9:18 p.m.    

The puppet SBU and PGO continue to work together in order to make sure that Tymoshenko will not participate in the elections. There is no doubt of the driving force behind this political persecution taking place in what is suppose to be a civilized country, run by a so call civilized government, and that is Yanukovich. the international community should respond in unison and be critical of Yanukovich policies which only applied to his opposition. He fails to provide details to the citizen of Ukraine as to the millions of dollars over paid for an oil rig. What happen to this money and who was involved? The citizens of Ukraine have the legal right to know this information. They have the legal right to know how Yanukovich son got a good deal of becoming owner of a bank supported by the government.

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Anonymous July 5, 2011, 10:39 p.m.    

When a person cant come clean about his own assets how will anyone in the workd take him seriously about anti-corruption ?? and that the prosecutions and persecution is anything but political ??

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Anonymous July 5, 2011, 11:07 p.m.    

This is the only case that they should have brought against her. Here she is entirely vulnerable and guilty as sin. She and her business partner, the convicted criminal and ex-Prime Minister, Pavlo Lazarenko, were up to their ears in corruption, fraud and almost every other crime in trading gas.

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Anonymous July 6, 2011, 2:19 a.m.    

And half the money went to his partner in crime Yulia.

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Anonymous July 6, 2011, 2:20 a.m.    

And he had help and advice from the most corrupt Gassed Princess.

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Anonymous Aug. 16, 2011, 8:29 p.m.    

&quot;Tymoshenko's fiery rhetoric brought her international fame as a leader of the 2004 &quot;Orange Revolution&quot; ...&quot;

LOL. She was desperate to get some official position, else she was going to be jailed - in 2004 she ended up on the Interpol most wanted list for thievery and refusal to appear for questioning.

Oligarch Tymoshenko is common criminal. What happens to her now days is only very logical consequence of her criminal behavior and disregard for the Laws of Ukraine.

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