The criminal case on activity of former Ukrainian Premier Yulia Tymoshenko in the United Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU) corporation could be sent to court in early April, Tymoshenko's defense lawyer Oleksandr Plakhotniuk has said.
"I have to admit and affirm that there is strong probability that this case may be sent to court in early April despite numerous petitions from the defense lawyers and additional proof submitted by the defense," the lawyer said at a briefing in Kyiv on March 26.
The rush to pass the case to court is due to the possible discharge of Tymoshenko after consideration of a cassation appeal on the gas case by the Higher Specialized Court for Civil and Criminal Cases on May 15.
"I suppose that everything will be done to achieve another conviction of Yulia Volodymyrivna by May 15," Plakhotniuk said.
He also described as anticipatory a statement of Chief of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Ihor Kalinin, according to which the materials of the case are ready for passing to court, as well as described as "pressure on court and the defense team" Kalinin’s statement, according to which enough proof has allegedly been collected to prove Tymoshenko’s guilt.
Plakhotniuk added that on March 28 the term established by the court for Tymoshenko and her defense team to read the materials of the case expires.
At the same time, according to him, due to her poor health, Tymoshenko is unable to read the materials of the case "in the same way a healthy person could do this."
The lawyer stressed that on March 16 Tymoshenko submitted a petition on involving him in the case as her defense lawyer. According to him, permission to admit him to the case has allegedly been issued. At the same time, Plakhotniuk noted that he cannot read 70 volumes of the UESU case in three days.
He added that the defense team had filed more than 20 petitions to the investigator, to which they are expecting to receive answers before the case is sent to court.
On October 11, 2011, Pechersky District Court in Kyiv sentenced Tymoshenko to seven years in prison for abuse of office in signing a gas deal with Russia in 2009. Tymoshenko was put in a pre-trial detention center in Kyiv on August 5, 2011. On December 30, she was transferred to Kachanivska penal colony No. 54 in Kharkiv.
The consideration of a cassation appeal against the verdict in Ukraine’s Higher Specialized Court for Civil and Criminal Cases is scheduled for May 15.
The SBU is continuing to investigate a criminal case against Tymoshenko on an alleged attempt to embezzle state funds of Ukraine in especially large amounts via transferring to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine debts of $405.5 million owed by the United Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU) corporation to the Defense Ministry of Russia.
As reported, Kyivsky District Court of Kharkiv on February 9 satisfied a petition lodged by an investigator of the Security Service of Ukraine to limit the time Tymoshenko can examine the materials of the UESU case until March 28.
Investigators have collected enough evidence of the guilt of Tymoshenko in order to submit to court a criminal case concerning the activities of the UESU corporation, the SBU chief said.
"The SBU investigative department is constantly working, and enough evidence has currently been gathered to take further procedural measures," he said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.