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Ukraine prosecutor: ex-PM may face additional charges

Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka [official profile] told reporters on Wednesday that former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive] may face additional criminal charges, including charges relating to the 1996 shooting of lawmaker Yevhen Shcherban and his family. Pshonka indicated that he believes Tymoshenko transferred money [RFE/RL report] to the individuals who organized the murder. Serhiy Vlasenko, one of Tymoshenko's lawyers, responded on Wednesday that the prosecution is "looking for a scapegoat" [press release] in the murders and accused Tymoshenko's political rival, President Viktor Yanukovych, of involvement in the killing. Pshonka said that Tymoshenko may also face charges relating to a debt owed to the Russian government.

Tymoshenko is currently being prosecuted in the Ukraine on charges of tax evasion. Earlier this month her trial was postponed for the second time [BBC report] at the request of the prosecution and is scheduled to resume on June 26. The trial was postponed in April [JURIST report] due to concerns about Tymoshenko's health. Earlier that month Tymoshenko was returned to prison after being sent to a clinic for medical treatment. The former prime minister has refused to be treated [JURIST report] by prison doctors for back problems she has been experiencing, as she believes they are under the direction of political rival Yanukovych. She is currently appealing a conviction and seven-year prison sentence [JURIST reports] to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and has discontinued all appeals [JURIST report] in the Ukraine on that issue. Although her previous conviction was on charges of corruption and abuse of power during her time as prime minister, Tymoshenko is now accused of hiding $165 million of corporate revenue and accumulating $5.8 million through tax fraud while the head of the UESU.

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