11:59 25.10.2012

Lawyer: Lazarenko gave no state guarantees on UESU

3 min read
Lawyer: Lazarenko gave no state guarantees on UESU

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko gave no state guarantees on the obligations of the United Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU) Corporation, his lawyer, Maryna Dovhopola, has said.

"Pavlo Lazarenko never gave government guarantees in the legal sense. There is correspondence between Lazarenko and the Russian government and Gazprom's leadership," she said at a press conference in Kyiv on Wednesday.

As reported, on October 22 Kyiv Economic Court of Appeals suspended the consideration of an appeal against a ruling by Kyiv Economic Court obliging the Ukrainian government to pay over UAH 3.1 billion (about $390 million) of the debt of the UESU Corporation to the Russian Defense Ministry pending the investigation of a criminal case into the issue by the SBU.

The court took this decision in response to a relevant request by the Cabinet of Ministers submitted on October 19.

The Russian Defense Ministry filed at Kyiv Economic Court a lawsuit against the Ukrainian government for the non-payment of UAH 3.239 billion under a criminal case on the activities of the UESU Corporation. The plaintiff also asked the court to summon the State Treasury Service of Ukraine as a third party on the side of the defendant in the case. The UESU is also a third party on the side of the defendant in the case.

The Russian ministry claims that, in the 1990s, the UESU, which was then headed by former Ukrainian Premier Yulia Tymoshenko, failed to meet its commitments in supplies for the Russian military under a 1997 agreement. The then Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko allegedly provided state guarantees that the commitments would be fulfilled.

On September 19, 2012 Kyiv Economic Court partially satisfied a suit from the Russian Defense Ministry concerning a debt accumulated by Unified Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU), ordering Ukraine to pay UAH 3.11 billion ($400 million) to Russia's defense agency.

On September 25, 2012 the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine filed an appeal against the ruling of the Economic Court.

On October 11, 2011, Pechersky District Court in Kyiv sentenced Tymoshenko to seven years in prison for overstepping her authority when signing 2009 gas contracts with Russia. She has served her sentence in Kachanivska Penal Colony in Kharkiv since late December 2011.

The Kyivsky District Court of Kharkiv is hearing the case of Tymoshenko, who is suspected of fraud while she was the UESU's head.

Tymoshenko faces five charges in the case – organization of the appropriation of public funds in an especially large amount in 1997-1998 via illicitly receiving value added tax (VAT) (Part 3 of Article 27, Part 5 of Article 191 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine), attempt to appropriate public funds of an especially large amount in 1997-1998 via illicitly receiving VAT (Part 3 of Article 27, Part 2 of Article 15, Part 5 of Article 191 of the Criminal Code), tax evasion by the UESU Corporation (Part 3 of Article 27, Part 3 of Article 212 of the Criminal Code), non-payment of income tax (Part 3 of Article 212 of the Criminal Code), and committing a crime via official forgery (Part 3 of Article 27, Part 2 of Article 366 of the Criminal Code).

A preliminary hearing of the case was held on April 19, 2012 in the absence of Tymoshenko. Since then the court has been putting off hearings due to the fact that Tymoshenko kept refusing to attend the hearings due to her state of health.

The next hearing of the case is scheduled for November 13.

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