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Ukrainian Prosecutors Say Ex-PM Tymoshenko Financed Murder

RIA Novosti

01:17 22/12/2012

KIEV, December 22 (RIA Novosti) - The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office has witnesses' testimonies that former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko ordered and financed the killing of prominent politician Yevhen Shcherban, First Deputy Prosecutor General Renat Kuzmin said on Friday.

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.

"There are witnesses who told our investigators that Tymoshenko was the person directly involved in this crime. They said she ordered this killing and financed it," Kuzmin told Ukraine's television channel One.

He added that prosecutors are ready to land charges on ordering and financing the killing, but the state of Tymoshenko's health makes it impossible at the moment.

Tymoshenko, who is serving seven years in jail for abuse of office, had severe back pain that prevented her from walking. Doctors from Germany's Charite clinic, who examined her earlier in the year, diagnosed Tymoshenko with an acute form of disk herniation. They also said the former premier was suffering from a stress.

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.

Tymoshenko, the opposition heroine of Ukraine's 2004 pro-democracy Orange revolution, was jailed 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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