Prosecutors Threaten To Arrest Tymoshenko

KIEV, Ukraine -- The Prosecutor General’s Office warned Tuesday it may seek an arrest warrant for opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko for allegedly delaying an investigation into the natural gas deal she negotiated with Russia in January 2009.

Ex-PM Yulia Tymoshenko

Tymoshenko was summoned to the prosecutor’s office on Tuesday – an official holiday in Ukraine - but the questioning had been postponed amid an argument over her lawyer.

Tymoshenko asked the investigator to approve Serhiy Vlasenko, a lawmaker from her political group, to represent her as a member of her defense team.

But the investigator declined the request for the second time over the past several days, and warned that further standoff would force the prosecutor’s office to seek the arrest.

“These actions by Tymoshenko show that she has been trying to delay the investigation and to prevent establishing the truth in the case,” the Prosecutor’s General Office said in a statement.

“Should Tymoshenko continue to defy the investigator, the Prosecutor General’s Office will be forced to appeal to court… seeking to take her in custody.”

Tymoshenko was again summoned to for an interrogation on Wednesday at 11:00 in the morning.

The prosecutor argued that Vlasenko, being a lawmaker, cannot be appointed as the lawyer in the case, and suggested that Tymoshenko may be given an option of getting a lawyer that will be chosen and paid for by the government.

Tymoshenko attacked the investigator for refusing to appoint Vlasenko as the lawyer, and submitted an official complain to Renat Kuzmin, the first deputy prosecutor general, who supervises the case.

“By Ukrainian law, I can request not only a lawyer, but also my defense that may not necessarily be a lawyer and get paid for the work,” Tymoshenko said. “This can be non-commercial, non-paid activity.”

Tymoshenko also attacked the investigation for allegedly trying to get her out of balance by summoning up for questioning on holidays.

“I think that the reason is that they want to destabilize my internal mood, my internal balance,” Tymoshenko said. “But they will fail.”

Source: Ukrainian Journal