Charges against Tymoshenko questioned

Nov. 14, 2011 at 12:08 PM
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KIEV, Ukraine, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- The Ukrainian legal system may as well charge opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko with the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy, her lawyer said Monday.

Tymoshenko appealed a seven-year prison sentence she received after being convicted of abusing her authority in a 2009 gas deal with Russian energy company Gazprom.

Ukrainian tax authorities said Friday that Tymoshenko faces additional charges of embezzlement and fraud stemming from when she was head of United Energy Systems of Ukraine

Serhiy Vlasenko, Tymshenko's lawyer, said Monday he was challenging the last claims against his client in a district court. He said there's no evidence whatsoever that Tymoshenko committed any crimes while she was director of Unified Energy Systems.

"I think accusing Tymoshenko of killing Kennedy would be more justifiable than this case," he was quoted by her Web site as saying.

Tymoshenko is more than 100 days into her seven-year prison sentence. Her Western supporters argue the charges are politically motivated. Tymoshenko is a member of the opposition against President Viktor Yanukovych.

The verdict is undermining Yanukovych's plans to move closer to the European Union. Several members of the European Parliament said Brussels should call off talks with Kiev because of the verdict.

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