Former Ukraine PM charged with financing lawmaker's murder

Last Updated: Fri, Jan 18, 2013 17:50 hrs

Kiev, Jan 18 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Jailed former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko is now an official suspect in the 1996 killing of businessman-lawmaker Yevhen Shcherban, the prosecutor general said Friday.

Tymoshenko faces life in prison if convicted.

Shcherban, the lawmaker who also headed Ukraine's Aton financial corporation, was shot dead along with his wife at an airport in Ukraine in November 1996.

"Investigators have established that the murder was organised by Yulia Tymoshenko and (another former PM) Pavlo Lazarenko," Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka said.

"Investigators have also established that Lazarenko paid $500,000 to a criminal group. Then Tymoshenko paid $2.3 million for Shcherban's killing."

Tymoshenko, who is currently serving a seven-year jail term for abusing her authority by signing a disadvantageous gas deal with Russia, was officially notified of being a suspect in the case by a team of investigators Friday.

Lazarenko was convicted of extortion and money laundering in the US. His nine-year sentence expired in November, but he will remain behind bars until his immigration status is settled.

--IANS/RIA Novosti


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