Kiev: The Ukrainian Security Service on Thursday
said it has opened a new criminal case against jailed former
Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko over suspected embezzlement
when she headed an energy firm in the 1990s.
The former Orange Revolution leader, who was jailed for
seven years on Tuesday in an abuse of power trial, is
suspected of embezzling USD 405 million of funds while
president of United Energy Systems of Ukraine, the SBU
agency`s head of investigations Ivan Derevyanko told
Derevyanko said the criminal probe was also opened against
Pavlo Lazarenko, who was prime minister from 1996-1997 and was
an ally of Tymoshenko.
He is now in detention in the United States after being
convicted in 2006 of embezzlement and money laundering.
"The main investigative department of the SBU has opened a
criminal case against the citizens of Ukraine, Tymoshenko and
Lazarenko," Derevyanko said, adding she risked up to 12 years
in prison under the charges.
He said the case was opened yesterday, one day after
Tymoshenko was given a seven-year jail sentence in the abuse
of power trial in a verdict which prompted international
Tymoshenko is accused in the new case of reassigning a
debt of USD 405.5 million -- owed by her company to the
Russian defence ministry -- to the Ukrainian budget and then
transferring the sum to herself and Lazarenko.
The new case is a serious blow for Tymoshenko, whose
daughter Yevgenia expressed hope in an interview with AFP that
her mother would be freed in the next months.
It is especially significant as the case alleges grave
In her abuse of power trial, Tymoshenko was convicted of
exceeding her authority in the signing of a gas deal with
Russia in 2009 that the current government says was overly
advantageous to Moscow and cost the budget.