Tymoshenko paid $3 mln to murder business rival - witness
KIEV, February 15 - RAPSI. An eyewitness in the case of lawmaker Yevhen Shcherban's murder told the court that former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko paid $3 million for his death.
The witness, Sergei Zaitsev, quoted information that he allegedly received from Petro Kyrychenko, who served as an aide to Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko.
Tymoshenko, who is accused of financing the crime, is being prosecuted in Kiev in absentia.
While he did not know Tymoshenko personally, he was related to Kyrychenko, Zaitsev said. His relative told him at a meeting that he acquainted Lazarenko with Milchenko and other criminal bosses who helped kill Shcherban.
In Zaitsev's words, Kyrychenko also told him that he transferred $1 million to Milchenko to commit the murder. Zaitsev also said he knew about a conflict between Lazarenko and Shcherban.
He learned that Lazarenko and Tymoshenko were in close personal relations from Lazarenko himself, Zaitsev said.
In January, Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka announced the completion of the high-profile murder case and that investigators believe the killing was ordered by two former Ukrainian prime ministers, Tymoshenko and Lazarenko.
According to the investigators, Shcherban, a businessman and a national deputy, stood in the way of making United Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU) - which was headed by Tymoshenko at the time - the monopoly gas distributor in the Donetsk Region.
Shcherban, the head of the Aton financial corporation, was shot dead at the Donetsk airport in November 1996. His wife and an airport employee were also killed.
In October 2011, Tymoshenko was sentenced to seven years in prison for abuse of power based on a 2009 gas contract that she signed with Russia. She is serving her sentence in a Kharkov women's prison. She has been receiving treatment at a local hospital since May 2012. She was diagnosed with a spinal disc herniation.
In late March, a second case bringing further charges against Tymoshenko was filed with Kharkov's Kievsky District Court. The case deals with her activity at United Energy Systems. She has also been accused of misappropriating funds.
Lazarenko was released from Terminal Island prison in California in late 2012. The former official spent over 10 years in prison for money laundering and extortion.
Lazarenko is still in the United States. Both he and Tymoshenko deny the accusations.