Jailed ex-Ukraine PM Yulia Tymoshenko accused of contract killing lawmaker

Yulia Tymoshenko

Ukraine's jailed former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, has been accused by government prosecutors of planning the murder of a lawmaker, with the help of Pavlo Lazarenko, another former PM.

Tymoshenko and Lazarenko, who have been detained in the United States, are the main suspects in murder of deputy Yevgen Shcherban in 1996, Prosecutor-General Viktor Pshonka said.

According to news.com.au, Pshonka added that the opposition leader could be imprisoned for life, if she is found guilty. According to the charges levied on Tymoshenko and Lazarenko found that the two paid 2.8 million US dollars to a contract killer to kill Shcherban.

Refuting the charges, Tymoshenko and her supporters said that the accusation leveled against her and Lazarenko are a form of retribution from present President Viktor Yanukovych.

Tymoshenko, who is currently receiving medical treatment at an out-of-prison health center in Kharkov city, was convicted in October 2011 of abuse of power in a 2009 gas deal with Russia.

In April 2012, she was accused of embezzling an estimated 405 million U.S. dollars and evading tax worth more than 87,000 dollars in the 1990s.

The trial has been delayed because of her medical condition. Pshonka said that the murder case would be combined with the embezzlement and tax evasion cases.

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