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Aug. 16, 2012, 10:19 p.m. |
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NEWS ITEM: Citing German officials, former President Viktor Yushchenko's onetime chief of staff Oleh Rybachuk said this week that President Viktor Yanukovych offered to let German Chancellor Angela Merkel pay $7 billion to win ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko's freedom from prison. Merkel and other European leaders have pressured Yanukovych to release Tymoshenko, describing her conviction for abuse-of-office in October as a politically motivated attempt to sideline his main rival. According to Rybachuk, the president said: “So, if you want Tymoshenko, pay up, because she stole $14 billion, and we'll give her to you half-price.” Rybachuk said high-ranking officials close to Merkel told him about this offer, which angered the chancellor so much that she has ended contact with Yanukovych.


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