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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Ukraine parliament drops bill that would free Tymoshenko

RIA Novosti

16:24 15/11/2011 KIEV, November 15 (RIA Novosti) - The Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday threw out a bill that would have exonerated jailed ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

With 226 votes needed for the presidential bill to pass, only 147 MPs voted for it to be included on the agenda for a second reading.

Tymoshenko was sentenced in October to seven years behind bars for abuse of office over gas deals that she concluded with Russia in 2009, a verdict internationally condemned as politically motivated.

On October 6, Ukraine’s parliament passed the first reading of the bill that would reduce sentences for a number of economic crimes, but rejected an amendment decriminalizing Article 365 of the Criminal Code, which stipulates jail time for abuse of office.

Tymoshenko’s BYT-Batkyvshchyna party has been consistently attempting to discuss the amendment in parliament.

The State Tax Service said on Friday, Tymoshenko faced new embezzlement and fraud charges including the concealment of $165 million in corporate revenue and the theft of public funds and tax evasion ($5.8 million), relating to the late 1990s when Tymoshenko was head of the United Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU), then the main importer of the Russian natural gas.

The charges were earlier dropped under the statute of limitations in the 2000s.

Other charges Tymoshenko faces include the misuse of funds received from the sale of greenhouse gas discharge quotas under the Kyoto Protocol, the misappropriation of funds to purchase ambulances, and the UESU’s illegal operations.

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