Timoshenko faces charges, claims victimization

Yulia Tymoshenko (AFP Photo / Sergei Supinsky)
Ukrainian prosecutors have pressed broader and more precise charges against former PM Yulia Timoshenko. The opposition politician claims the case, relating to the misappropriation of 380 million euros, to be a politicized one.

On Thursday, Timoshenko spent 11 hours in the Prosecutor General’s office where she had been summoned for questioning. However, after leaving the building she told the assembled journalists that she had only received the materials of the case with the updated charges.

“In one day they presented me with broader and specified charges of paying pensions, as they say, with money earmarked for the ecology. Nothing else. And right after presenting these charges, they completed the pre-trial investigation and gave me the case to study,”Timoshenko told reporters at around midnight.

The prosecutors, however, said that Timoshenko herself chose to stay with them late into the night. "Yesterday, on December 30, 2010, Timoshenko answered the investigator's questions linked to this case for two hours. She herself chose to spend the rest of the time studying the materials and commenting on them," Russian news agency Interfax quoted the Prosecutor General's Office as saying on Friday.

Prosecutors confirmed that the pre-trial investigation was completed and that Timoshenko is accused of abuse of power with grave consequences – the misuse of 380 million euros that Ukraine had received as payment for its green gas quotas under Kyoto agreement. According to investigators, the state budget lost about 1 million hryvnas (about US$125,000) due to these operations.

Timoshenko is now under a travel ban, but several of her close associates have recently been arrested. The highest-profile of these is former Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko, who stands accused of corruption crimes.