18/7 Tass 244
KIEV July 18 (Itar-Tass) —— allow former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko’s lawyer and MP Sergei Vlasenko was ordered out of the courtroom at Kiev’s Pechersky Court on Monday, July 18.
“Despite numerous notifications and explanations by the court that order may not be broken in the courtroom, the deputy has been acting in a way that disrupt the hearings,” Presiding Judge Rodion Kireyev said.
“The court has ruled to remove Vlasenko from the courtroom until the end of the examination of this criminal case,” he said.
In reply, Vlasenko said current legislation provided for a fine for such actions, not removal from the courtroom.
Monday’s hearings began with a dispute over two new defenders – Nikolai Sery and Alexander Plakhotnyuk. Kireyev asked the new lawyers to take seats in the courtroom, not next to Timoshenko, but Vlasenko tried to protect and failed. After that the judge ordered Vlasenko out of the courtroom and announced a break.
Last week, Kireyev ordered Tmoshenko herself out of the courtroom for continuous violations of law.
The Pechersky Court is examining the case on its merits, in which Timoshenko is facing the charges of abuse of office when making gas contracts with Russia in 2009.
The Prosecutor General’s Office said in its statement on the opening of the criminal case, which was delivered to Timoshenko on April 13, that on January 19, 2009 she “acting in excess of her powers and duties personally issued, signed and certified with the government seal a written directive to Naftogaz Ukrainy regarding talks with Gazprom on the purchase of natural gas in 2009-2019”, which caused considerable financial losses for the budget.
The “gas case” may give Timoshenko seven to ten years in prison.
Prosecutor Lilia Frolova said earlier that the Ukrainian Criminal Code envisioned no suspended sentence for such offence.
According to Frolova, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’ s Office has not decided yet on the kind of punishment it will request for Timoshenko.
“The prosecution does not know what the witnesses will say and how the court investigation will proceed,” she said.
The criminal case was opened against Timoshenko for the gas contracts in accordance with part 3 of Article 365 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code, which gives the maximum punishment of seven to ten years in prison.
In this case Timoshenko will not be able to participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections in 2012 or the presidential election in 2015.
Earlier, First Deputy Prosecutor General Renat Kuzmin said Timoshenko might be put into custody.
“The investigator will have to resort to this if Timoshenko and her lawyers avoid investigative activities. There is no alternative,” Kuzmin said.
Three criminal cases have been opened against Timoshenko and she has given a written pledge not to leave Kiev.
Timoshenko has been reading materials of two criminal cases opened against her for more than two months. The investigator officially asked her to come to the Prosecutor General’s Office on may 19 together with her lawyers for urgent investigative actions in order to complete the investigation into the use of part of proceeds from the sale of greenhouse gas quotas, which were intended for certain purposes, for financing national budget expenditures.
A total of 380 million euros were misused.
Another criminal case concerns the purchase, against the government’s guarantees, and import into Ukraine of allegedly specialised Opel Combo ambulances. The damage from this transaction is estimated at 67 million hryvnia (over eight million U.S. dollars).
Kiev’s district court has confirmed the legitimacy of the criminal case against Timoshenko over gas contracts with Russia made in 2009.
The court rejected Timoshenko’s appeal questioning the legitimacy of the criminal case and confirmed that the Prosecutor General’s Office had acted lawfully by brining criminal charges against her.
Timoshenko was notified on April 13 of a new criminal case opened against her for the gas agreements she had made with Russia in 2009.
Kuzmin said prior to that that new charges of abuse of office when making natural gas supply contracts in 2009 had been brought against Timoshenko.
“The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office has opened a criminal case against the ex-premier for abuse of office when making gas contracts in 2009,” he said.
Earlier, the Prosecutor General’s Office opened two criminal cases against Timoshenko and later combined then into one.
Timoshenko has been charged with misuse of 380 million euros received by Ukraine under the Kyoto Protocol. She may face a prison term of five to ten years. She has been asked to give a written pledge not to leave the city.
Timoshenko claims that the money was used to pay pensions.
On December 20, 2010, the Prosecutor General’s Office said that as prime minister Timoshenko, “acting deliberately and driven by her personal interests,” made the decision to “use a part of the proceeds from the sale of greenhouse emission quotas intended for stated purposes for financing Ukraine’s national budget expenses, primarily pension obligations.”
According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, Timoshenko’s decision resulted in a loss of 960,000 hryvnia (121,000 U.S. dollars) in the national budget.
Timoshenko denied the misuse of the funds.