Ukraine's opposition leader Tymoshenko charged with additional offense

KIEV, UKRAINE: Ukraine's opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko on Thursday was charged with an additional abuse of power offenss related to the purchase of minivans.

According to RIA Novosti, The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office charged Tymoshenko with abuse of power in relation to the purchase of 1,000 Opel Combo minivans.

The overpriced vehicles were allegedly bought of the Health Ministry. Prosecutors claim that the Opel minivans are valued at approximately $15,000 but Timoshenko's government purchased them for 20 percent more (around $18,000).

The former Prime Minister was also accused of using such vehicles in her failed presidential campaign which were narrowly won by her rival and current president Viktor Yanukovych.

Last December, Tymoshenko was first charged with misuse of government funds in relation to the illegal divert of $425 million meant for environmental projects into pension funds.

Tymoshenko has denied all accusations and claimed that Ukrainian authorities were only trying to intimidate her. The opposition has strongly criticized the Yanukovych government due to its "anti-Ukrainian" and "pro-Russian" policies.

One day after the charges were brought against Tymoshenko, a fight broke out in the Ukrainian Parliament after members of the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc-Batskivshchyna alliance staged a protest over the accusations.

The opposition members were confronted by deputies from the ruling Party of Region and erupted into a fist-fight. Three Members of Parliament, all part of the opposition alliance, were injured.


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