TYMOSHENKO RELEASED BUT TOLD: "ARREST AT ANY TIME IF DEEMED NECESSARY"

24.05.11


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KYIV, May 24 (Reuters) - Ukrainian prosecutors accused former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko on Tuesday of hampering investigations for her trial on charges of abuse of power and threatened her with arrest.

The Batkivshchyna Party has asserted that Tymoshenko, 50, a fierce opponent of President Viktor Yanukovich, was questioned at the state prosecutor's office in a room guarded by dozens of masked police officers.

The prosecutor said Tymoshenko, who argues charges against her are politically motivated, had been allowed to leave after the meeting with investigators; but a court order had been issued providing for her arrest at any time if deemed necessary.

"The investigator could have detained her today but since she (duly) arrived for questioning together with her lawyer the investigator went ahead with... procedures without detention," a spokesman for the prosecutor's office said.

Prosecutors said in a statement that Tymoshenko, charged with abuse of office over carbon permit sales and the purchase of emergency rescue vehicles, had "for a long time evaded pre-trial investigation and disrupted investigative measures concerning her".

ORANGE REVOLUTION

Tymoshenko, a fiery speaker, was one of the leaders of the 2004 "Orange revolution" that denied Yanukovich victory on his first bid for the presidency. But she later fell out with her allies and the country sank into a long period of political infighting and uncertainty that undermined the economy.

After winning in 2010, Yanukovich has quickly consolidated power at home and overseen constitutional changes that diminished the role of the parliament.  He has denied any political motivation in Tymoshenko's case.

Tymoshenko also faces possible charges over her role in the signing of the 2009 gas deal with Russia which the government says damaged Ukraine's interests.

A former interior minister under Tymoshenko, Yuri Lutsenko, is being held on charges of abuse of office involving embezzlement of state funds, while former environment minister, Georgy Filipchuk, also faces criminal charges.

Another Tymoshenko ally, former economy minister Bohdan Danylyshin, fled Ukraine and has been granted political asylum in the Czech republic.

Reporting by Natalya Zinets; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; editing by Ralph Boulton

 

 

* Photo: Tymoshenko's last public appearance during the "Shuster Live" show, 21 May 2011.


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