Tymoshenko facing new charges

2011-10-13 17:00

Kiev - The Ukrainian Security Service said on Thursday it opened a new criminal case against jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko over suspected embezzlement when she headed an energy firm in the 1990s.

Tymoshenko, who was jailed for seven years on Tuesday in an abuse of power trial, is suspected of embezzling $405m of funds while president of United Energy Systems of Ukraine, the SBU agency's head of investigations Ivan Derevyanko said.

Derevyanko said the criminal probe was also opened against Pavlo Lazarenko, who was prime minister in the late 1990s and an ally of Tymoshenko.

He is now jailed in the US for 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.

He said the case was opened on Wednesday, 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 $405.5m - owed by her company to the Russian defence ministry - to the state Ukrainian budget.

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.

Tymoshenko headed United Energy Systems of Ukraine during a chaotic period in Ukraine during the 1990s. Derevyanko described Tymoshenko as the "president and de facto owner of the company".