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Ex-Ukraine PM faces more possible charges

Ex-Ukraine PM faces more possible charges
Ukrainian officials, despite international outrage, filed a second case against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, alleging embezzlement. (UPI Photo/Anatoli Zhdanov) | License Photo

KIEV, Ukraine, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Ukrainian officials, despite international outrage, filed a second case against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, alleging embezzlement.

Prosecutors said the proceedings concern an alleged embezzlement plot dating back to 1997 when Tymoshenko's company, United Energy Systems of Ukraine, supplied Russian gas to Ukrainian factories, EUobserver.com reported Friday.

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In a separate case, Tymoshenko received a seven-year sentence Tuesday for exceeding her powers in signing a gas deal with Russia.

Some members of Ukraine's parliament said the second case was a non-starter because the statute of limitations had passed.

The Ukrainian Security Services began questioning Tymoshenko Thursday and resumed its questioning Friday, RIA Novosti reported.

"The case was initiated in complete compliance with the law," spokesman Yury Boichenko said.

Observers said the case will heighten European Union criticism that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is abusing the law to devastate his main political rival before the 2012 elections.

Jose Manuel Pinto-Texeira, the European Union ambassador in Ukraine, said last week abuse of power has worsened since Yanukovych took office.

"Corruption is the result of everything else, a symptom of the problem," Pinto-Texeira said. "Over the last year-and-a-half there has been a trend in Ukraine, several developments, that indicate a deterioration in pluralism of democracy."

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