Criminal Cases Opened Against Former Ukrainian PM

KIEV, Ukraine -- Two new criminal cases have been opened against former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and her lawyer Nikolai Titarenko (L), during a trial hearing at the Pecherskiy District Court in Kiev, Monday, July 11, 2011.

The Ukrainian security service opened a criminal investigation into the activities of an energy company once headed by Tymoshenko.

This new probe focuses on whether she embezzled $405 million dollars.

The second case concerns the purchase and sale of the Ukraine's largest integrated steel company Kryvorizhstal.

The court session started with the wrangle between Tymoshenko and the judge.

Former Premier has said she refused the services of her lawyer because the court has not given him sufficient time to review the case file and thus he was unable to defend her properly.

She also asked the court for at least three days to find another lawyer.

Yulia Tymoshenko, the fiercest rival of President Viktor Yanukovich, denies new accusations of attempted theft, saying they are based on "fake" documents.

Since Yanukovich came to power, several former members of Tymoshenko's Cabinet have been prosecuted.

Yanukovich says his government is merely fighting corruption while he personally is not interfering in the trial.

Opposition leader believes that public statements made by Viktor Yanukovych confirm his influence over the trial regarding gas contracts from 2009.

Experts agree on the fact that the prosecution of the opposition members in Ukraine destroys the achievements of the Orange Revolution of 2004.

Even though Tymoshenko is still one of the most popular politicians in the country, she has so far failed to unite other opposition figures.

Western governments, in particular, the European Union, with which Ukraine is negotiating an association agreement, is also complaining about the selective justice in Ukraine.

The president of the Freedom House David Kramer has said this process is destroying Ukraine's prospects for real integration into the Euro-Atlantic community and is destroying the country's prospects for a real democratic future.

While the European Union warns Ukraine over Tymoshenko's case, the Ukrainian politicians say the new criminal cases can not be ruled out as the former Prime Minister has been in political and economic arena since 1996, a year tinged with a multitude of shady deals.

Source: PressTV

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