Tymoshenko ready to face charges

March 14, 2011 at 11:52 AM
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KIEV, Ukraine, March 14 (UPI) -- A case against Ukraine's former prime minister will test the effectiveness of national courts, the accused opposition leader said in a statement.

Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko is charged with misusing federal money meant for environmental projects to pay for pension funds during her tenure as prime minister.

Tymoshenko in a message posted on her Web site said she and her legal team reviewed several volumes of documents related to the charge and were ready to take on Ukraine's justice system.

"I want to go to court as soon as possible to demonstrate whether or not courts exist in Ukraine," she said. "I want to see how in the absence of a crime, as they say for 'the illegal payment of pensions,' the judges will turn a blind eye to justice and the law and will issue a ruling based on instructions from (President Viktor) Yanukovych."

Tymoshenko, who lost a bitter election campaign to Yanukovych, denies misusing federal money. She said the accusations are part of a political smear campaign.

Critics said Kiev is trying to divert attention from an unpopular move on pension reform by targeting Tymoshenko.

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