Fresh charge against Ukraine`s Tymoshenko

Ukraine`s ex-PM Yulia Tymoshenko already faces a charge of abuse of power.

Kiev: Prosecutors filed a fresh charge against Ukraine`s former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the embattled politician said on Friday.

"They have lodged an additional charge, of embezzling 960,000 hryvnias (EUR 92,000, USD 120,000)," Tymoshenko told the Interfax-Ukraine news agency. She already faces a charge of abuse of power.

The sum in question had been paid by the government to the state bank into the Ukraine Treasury`s account, she said.

On the first charge alone, she faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Earlier on Friday, Tymoshenko said the authorities had arrested another of her former ministers, Yevhen Korniychuk, in what she called the "revenge of the mafia”.

"Today they are doing away with all those who have deprived them of shady dishonest earnings and income," Tymoshenko told reporters, referring to the authorities.

"Korniychuk is one of them," she added, in comments released by her Batkivshchyna party. He served as her first deputy justice minister.

Last week, a Ukrainian court ordered the arrest of another former Tymoshenko associate and former minister Georgii Filipchuk who is now being investigated for abuse of power while in office.

"We are in touch with the lawyers of all the persecuted people from our team, we know how the events are developing and we can say that all the people who have now been detained, who are now behind bars -- this is direct revenge of the mafia," Tymoshenko said, referring to President Viktor Yanukovych`s government.

Last week, Tymoshenko herself was placed under investigation for abuse of power and ordered not to leave Kiev.

Tymoshenko says the original charge against her, which also involved the misappropriation of government money, concerns EUR 320 million (USD 425 million) allotted for environmental spending that had not been used.

She said she had it transferred to cover the country`s massive pension arrears.

Yanukovych himself said on Friday he was not sure that the inquiry against Tymoshenko would come to court.

"If in the course of the inquiry her innocence is proven, this question will no longer be on the agenda," he told Ukrainian television.

"If however there is a trial, it is in our interests that it is fair," he added.

In February, Tymoshenko lost a hard-fought Presidential Election battle to Yanukovych, leading her to step down as prime minister in early March and go into opposition.

Since then she has accused Yanukovych of repeated attempts to silence her and sharply criticised his policies, particularly his efforts to build closer ties with Soviet-era master Russia.

Bureau Report

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