Gas Charges Proceed Against Tymoshenko

KIEV, Ukraine -- A Ukrainian court found that a case charging opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko with abuse of power in a 2009 natural gas deal can move forward, a judge said.

Yulia Tymoshenko

Tymoshenko and Oleg Dubina, the former head of Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz, were questioned by Ukrainian authorities in April in a case involving a 2009 natural gas deal with Russian energy company Gazprom.

Gazprom cut gas supplies to Ukraine briefly before Tymoshenko helped clinch a deal to resume supplies.

The deal put tight restrictions on Kiev and Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych later landed a new deal in exchange for an extended lease for the Russian Black Sea fleet in Crimea.

Kiev claims Tymoshenko's deal was brokered without the consent of the Cabinet.

The Kiev court found that there was "enough grounds to initiate a criminal case," Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti reports.

Tymoshenko's defense team complains the deal is "politically motivated" and said they would file an appeal.

Tymoshenko fought a bruising campaign against Yanukovych during a presidential campaign in 2010.

She faces separate allegations that she misused federal money meant for environmental projects to pay for pension funds during her tenure as prime minister.

Source: UPI