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Ukraine ex-PM Tymoshenko's energy company under investigation

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) [official website, in Ukrainian] announced on Tuesday that they are launching a criminal investigation [press release, in Ukrainian] into United Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU), an energy company at one time headed by former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive]. The SBU is investigating UESU's potential embezzlement of USD $405 million from the government. Although the press release did not mention targeting Tymoshenko's time as head of the company, she stated the probe was another attempt to persecute her based on fake documents [Interfax report]. Her ongoing trial includes charges of abuse of office in connection with signing gas import contracts with Russia, misappropriating state funds and abuse of authority [JURIST reports] by purchasing "1000 Opel Combo" medical vans at a 20 percent mark-up during her time as prime minister from 2007-2010. Tymoshenko expressed confidence that a new probe indicates those cases against her have collapsed.

Last month, Tymoshenko filed a complaint [JURIST report] with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website], alleging violations of the European Convention of Human Rights [text, PDF]. The complaint argued that the charges against Tymoshenko are politically engineered by current Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych [official website, in Ukrainian], Tymoshenko's political rival. ECHR President Jean Paul Costa refused to comment on the complaint [Korrespondent report, in Russian], but said it was before the court. The current combined case against her is not the first time she has been prosecuted. Last May, prosecutors reopened a separate criminal investigation [JURIST report] into allegations that Tymoshenko attempted to bribe Supreme Court judges. Tymoshenko's government was dissolved in March 2010 after she narrowly lost the presidential election to Yanukovych. Tymoshenko had alleged that widespread voter fraud allowed Yanukovych to win the election.

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