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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Ukrainian Prosecutors to charge Tymoshenko on Aiding Murder

RIA Novosti

11:39 09/08/2012 KIEV, August 9 (RIA Novosti) - The Ukraine Prosecutor General’s Office will bring new charges against jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in connection with her alleged involvement in the murder of Ukrainian lawmaker and businessman, Yevhen Shcherban, in 1996, first deputy chief prosecutor, Renat Kuzmin, said in an interview with the Segodnya daily, published on Thursday.

“As the German doctors who treat Tymoshenko said, she needed eight weeks relief from stress. We are waiting until this term is finished. When the doctors say it’s ok to disturb her, we’ll come to her with the new charges. We’ve got everything ready for it,” Kuzmin told the paper.

In mid-June Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said in an interview with the Bloomberg news agency Tymoshenko could have been involved in Shcherban’s killing.

The former premier, who is currently serving a seven-year jail term for exceeding her authority when signing gas contracts with Russia in 2009, was given witness status in late May in a case related to Shcherban’s murder.

Investigators suspect Tymoshenko of being implicated in orders to kill the businessman after finding $2 million in the bank accounts of Shcherban’s killers. The money was reportedly transferred from companies controlled by Tymoshenko and another former prime minister, Pavlo Lazarenko who is currently serving a jail term in a U.S. prison for money laundering.

In an interview with the Segodnya daily, Kuzmin also said that the prosecutor’s office had appealed to U.S. authorities to question Lazarenko.

“As soon as we receive a positive response, we are ready to enter the United States and question Lazarenko on Shcherban’s murder,” Kuzmin said.

Shcherban, the Supreme Rada lawmaker, who also headed Ukraine’s Aton financial corporation, was shot dead with his wife at an airport in eastern Ukraine in November 1996.

According to the Kommersant Ukraine daily, the New York district court is seeking to question Tymoshenko via an online conference about an $18.3-million debt that the energy transporter United Energy Systems, failed to repay to the U.S. Universal Trading & Investment Co, while headed by Tymoshenko in the 1990s.

Tymoshenko’s lawyer Sergei Vlasenko said that “she would not agree [to be questioned], since she should have her U.S. lawyers next to her during such questioning,” Kommersant Ukraine said on Thursday.

Tymoshenko, the opposition heroine of Ukraine's 2004 pro-democracy Orange revolution, was jailed for seven years for abuse of office following a controversial trial in October 2011, which was condemned by Russia and Western governments as politically motivated. She is also facing a separate trial for embezzlement and tax evasion.

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