KIEV, Ukraine -- The Prosecutor General’s Office is ready to take the criminal case against ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to court, the press service of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office reported on Friday.
“The Prosecutor General’s Office is ready to take to court the criminal case immediately after the defendant and her counsel complete its study,” the statement says.
The press service noted that on March 10 the investigator for particularly important cases of the Prosecutor General’s Office handed to Tymoshenko’s lawyer Bogdan Ferents a letter that he should pass to his client.
The letter says that on February 21 Tymoshenko was notified of the completion of the pre-trial investigation in a criminal case on charges of exceeding power, abuse of office that led to serious consequences and violations of the budget legislation.
“According to the protocol announcing the completion of the pre-trial investigation, Tymoshenko expressed the desire to get familiarised with the case materials with the participation of the counsel. According to the requirements of Article 218 of the Ukrainian Criminal Procedure Code, it is a right, not an obligation of the defendant,” said the Prosecutor General’s Office.
“However, expressing the desire to familiarise with the case, the accused should not take actions to make an unjustified delay in this process.”
The press service said that every working day from 9:00 to 18:00 hours Tymoshenko has an opportunity in a convenient time for her to get acquainted with the case materials.
“If the defence lawyer cannot come for valid reasons, the defendant can postpone the familiarisation with the case until he appears,” the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office said.
Tymoshenko is accused that being on the prime minister’s post, acting intentionally, out of personal interest, she decided to use part of the funds received from the sale of quotas for greenhouse gas emissions and that had a specific purpose, to cover Ukraine’s state budget expenditures, first of all for fulfilling obligations on the payment of pensions. The total amount of misused funds amounted to 380 million euros.
Another criminal case against the former prime minister concerns the purchase under the government guarantees and importation into the territory of Ukraine of the allegedly specialised medical vehicles Opel Combo.
The amount of damage caused to the state in this case is 67 million hrivnas (more than $8 million US dollars). The Prosecutor General’s Office consolidated the criminal cases against Tymoshenko in one proceeding.
According to Tymoshenko, they want to deliver a verdict to her, which provides for imprisonment for a term of 5 to 10 years.
After questioning at the Main Investigation Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office on December 15, 2010, Tymoshenko said, “I have just found out from the investigators that a criminal case has been opened against me for allegedly having used environmental money for pensions during the crisis.”
The investigators wanted to bring official changes against Tymoshenko but did not do it due to the absence of her layer, the former prime minister said.
In March 2009, Ukraine agreed to sell 30 million greenhouse gas emission units to Japan. In April Tymoshenko said Ukraine had received three billion hrivnas ($375 million US dollars) from this sale.
On April 22, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich accused the former Tymoshenko government of misuse of funds allocated to Ukraine under the Kyoto Protocol.
He made an assumption that the money received by Ukraine under the Kyoto Protocol had not been used for proper purposes. “It was stolen. And this shame is still in store for us,” the president said.
Tymoshenko denied the misuse of the funds because they were kept in special accounts of the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources and said the present government could use them if need be.
“It would take a minute for a specialist to see that there is not a single payment order for the transfer of the environmental money. They say that the environment money was used to pay pensions. Pensions were paid but not with the environmental money,” she said.
However the Prosecutor General’s Office said the funds received by Ukraine from the sale of quotas under the Kyoto Protocol had been misused.
“Tymoshenko’s statement that these funds are kept in special deposit accounts is wrong,” it said. Tymoshenko said after an interrogation on December 2 that the sum in question was 320 million euros.
In October, she said the use of earnings from the sale of greenhouse gas emission quotas by her government for other purposes should not be considered a crime.
She also stressed that she would have used the money for the payment of pensions if she had faced the same situation again.