KIEV — Ukraine's state prosecutor on Wednesday opened a criminal case relating to what it said was misuse by the government of Yulia Tymoshenko of about $290 million cash received for selling carbon quotas.
The prosecutor's office said in a statement that 2.3 billion hryvnas, received last year for selling carbon-emission rights under the Kyoto agreement, had been misused by the former Cabinet and the Finance Ministry.
"As a result, a criminal case for violation of budget legislation and abuse of authority was launched," the statement said, without mentioning Tymoshenko by name.
The action caused "serious consequences for Ukraine's state interests," it said.
During a Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov accused the Tymoshenko government of massive misuse of budget funds, including the alleged disappearance of about $378 million received for selling carbon quotas to Japan.
He suggested that much of the money had gone to funding Tymoshenko's unsuccessful election campaign, an allegation she denied.
"I am even happy that today Azarov is preparing a criminal action against me. 'Come closer and then we'll see who wins,'" she said. "It is impossible to blame me for misuse of money and property back then. … It's impossible," she said.