Former PM Tymoshenko charged with misuse of state funds
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Ukraine's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko was charged with misuse of state funds on Monday and restricted to the capital, Kiev. The Orange Revolution leader was accused of diverting funds for environmental policy to cover pension arrears.
REUTERS - Ukrainian opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko was charged on Monday over alleged misuse of state funds during her tenure as prime minister in 2007-10, Tymoshenko's spokeswoman said.
Tymoshenko, who narrowly lost the February presidential election to President Viktor Yanukovich, has repeatedly dismissed as politically motivated accusations her government misused money raised by selling carbon emission rights.
"This looks really absurd," her party's website quoted her as saying on Monday. "This is how the President of Ukraine is getting rid of his main competitor."
In October, auditors hired by Yanukovich's government published a report accusing Tymoshenko of illegally using funds from selling carbon emission rights under the Kyoto Protocol to plug gaps in the country's pension fund.
"I paid pensions to people but this is not a crime under Ukraine's law," she said.
Tymoshenko, 50, was one of the leaders of the 2004 "Orange Revolution", a series of street protests that stripped Yanukovich of victory in a disputed presidential election.
Pro-Western politician Viktor Yushchenko then won the 2004 election with Tymoshenko's support but relations between the two later soured, allowing Yanukovich to stage a comeback this year amid discontent and economic decline.