Charges pile up on ex-PM
The Prosecutor General's Office had completed its investigation into the 1996 murder of businessman and politician Yevhen Scherban, Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka told reporters last Friday, KW wrote in the latest issue.
The chief prosecutor said that two former Ukrainian prime ministers, Pavlo Lazarenko and Yulia Tymoshenko, are being charged with organizing this murder for pecuniary reasons. "The article under which Tymoshenko is being charged [Criminal Code Article 93] anticipates punishment of up to [life sentence] for plotting murder, but only a court will pass judgment on this," he said. Scherban, a member of the Liberal Party's executive committee and a Verkhovna Rada deputy, was shot and killed at the Donetsk airport on November 3, 1996. Scherban, his wife and a mechanic died on the spot from gunshot wounds. The plane's flight engineer died lated in the hospital. Unidentified attackers immediately fled the crime scene. Later, Vadym Bolotskykh was sentenced to life for the killings in April 2003.
Scherban's son Ruslan earlier told reporters that he had provided prosecutors with documents indicating that Tymoshenko and Lazarenko might have played a role in contracting his father’s assassination. Tymoshenko and Lazarenko deny the accusations.
The Ukrainian authorities are hurrying to bring new charges against Tymoshenko before the European Court of Human Rights has pronounced a ruling on her prosecution for the 2009 Ukrainian-Russian gas deal, the Ukrainian United Opposition Batkivschyna said on the same day. "Understanding that the European Court of Human Rights will put an end to the dirty and empty tricks against Yulia Tymoshenko in the near future, Yanukovych's associates have resorted to a desperately brazen and mendacious step," it said.
Meanwhile, Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka met with representatives of foreign diplomatic missions to Ukraine, telling them that the former premier is being charged of grand embezzlement and is suspected of ordering and organizing the murder of Scherban in collusion with former the then deputy premier Pavlo Lazarenko.
"There is no political context here; there are materials of the investigation and the defense team's arguments, and the court will rule on the case after considering them," Pshonka said. Batkivschyna demands that parliament considers the situation with Tymoshenko by late this month. Earlier, Vitaliy Klitscho’s UDAR party said it has started collecting signatures to support the initiative.