Ukraine opens new case against Tymoshenko: Official
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Last Updated: Thursday, October 13, 2011, 23:53
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 reporters.

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 outrage.

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 corruption.

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.


First Published: Thursday, October 13, 2011, 16:25

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