Ukrainian prosecutors on Monday filed criminal charges [press release, in Ukrainian] against opposition leader and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive] for allegedly misappropriating state funds during her time in office from 2007-2010. Tymoshenko, whose government was dissolved in March after she narrowly lost the presidential election to Viktor Yanukovych [official website, in Ukrainian], is accused [Reuters report] of misusing money raised by selling carbon emission rights. Tymoshenko claims that the investigation is politically motivated and maintains her innocence. She has pledged to appear for questioning [press release, in Ukrainian], stating, "I fear nothing."
In May, prosecutors reopened a separate criminal investigation [JURIST report] into allegations that Tymoshenko attempted to bribe Supreme Court judges. The probe was initiated in May 2004 and then suspended [JURIST report] in June 2005. In February, Tymoshenko withdrew a lawsuit [JURIST reports] filed in the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine claiming that the country's presidential election was corrupt. Tymoshenko had alleged that widespread voter fraud allowed Yanukovych to win the election. The opposition leader has a history of being at the center of controversial political moments in Ukraine. In March 2009, she called for constitutional changes [JURIST report] to provide more separation between parliamentary and presidential powers. In October 2008, Tymoshenko withdrew a lawsuit [JURIST report] she had brought against then-president Victor Yushchenko [JURIST news archive] after he suspended a plan to hold early elections following the collapse of the country's coalition government. Before suspending the plan, Yushchenko had issued a decree abolishing a Kiev court after it tried to block [JURIST reports] his order dissolving parliament.