Tymoshenko Now Faces Life in Prison, Suspected of Murder

January 18, 2013, Friday // 07:20
Bulgaria: Tymoshenko Now Faces Life in Prison, Suspected of Murder
Demonstrators hold a portraits of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko and shout slogans during a protest near of the Ukrainian High Administrative Court in Kiev, 10 Sept2012. EPA/BGNES

Jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is now an official suspect in the 1996 killing of Ukrainian businessman and lawmaker Yevhen Shcherban, Ukraine's Prosecutor General said on Friday.

She now faces life in prison, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.

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

"Investigators have established that the murder was organized by Yulia Tymoshenko and [another former PM] Pavlo Lazarenko," Ukrainian Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka told reporters.

"Investigators have also established that Lazarenko paid USD 500,000 to a criminal group. Then Tymoshenko paid USD 2.3 M 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 on Friday.

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

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