Ukrainian Ex-PM Tymoshenko Facing Murder Charges
Ukrainian ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko who has been serving a 7 year prison sentence for abuse of office while negotiating a gas deal with Russia in 2009, is now facing a life prison sentence for ordering the assassination of a business rival 16 years ago.
Ukraine’s chief prosecutor has formally notified Tymoshenko that she is a suspect in the murder of the businessman and lawmaker in 1996.
The Prosecutor’s Office issued a statement on its website Friday that Tymoshenko is suspected of contracting the murder of Yvhen Scherban, his wife and two other people with the help of Pavlo Lazarenko, another former PM.
Tymoshenko has not been formally charged yet, but the statement from the prosecutors’ office indicates that charges are likely. She was being investigated in the case for months.
Tymoshenko has been in jail since 2011 but currently receiving medical treatment at an out-of-prison health center in Kharkov city. She was accused of embezzling an estimated 405 million U.S. dollars and evading tax worth more than 87,000 dollars in the 1990s.
Former PM denies the contract-murder accusations and says it is part of a broader campaign by her foe, President Viktor Yanukovych, to keep her in prison to stop her from getting back to Ukrainian politics.
Tymoshenko has the support of Western nations and Russia. She is the country’s lead opposition figure. Charges against Tymoshenko are assumed to be politically motivated, and considered to be the result of the political rivalry with current Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
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