[JURIST] The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office (PGO) [official website, in Ukrainian] has combined two separate criminal cases [press release, in Ukrainian] and concluded the pre-trial investigation of opposition leader and former primer minister Yulia Tymoshenko [personal website; JURIST news archive]. Tymoshenko was called in for questioning Monday by the PGO and was presented with the charges. The proceedings lasted about two hours before the PGO concluded the pre-trial investigation. The combined cases against Tymoshenko include charges initiated in December for allegedly misappropriating state funds during her time as prime minister from 2007-2010 and new charges in January alleging that she abused her authority and exceeded her official duties [JURIST reports] while in office by purchasing "1000 Opel Combo" medical vans at a 20 percent mark-up. Tymoshenko says the vans were successful in providing medical services to rural villages. She also criticized the speed [press release, in Ukrainian] at which the charges were processed, claiming they are politically motivated.
Tymoshenko's government was dissolved last March after she narrowly lost the presidential election to Viktor Yanukovych [official website, in Ukrainian]. The current combined case against her is not the first time she has been prosecuted. Last May, prosecutors reopened a separate criminal investigation [JURIST report] into allegations that Tymoshenko attempted to bribe Supreme Court judges. The probe was initiated in May 2004 and then suspended [JURIST report] in June 2005. Last February, Tymoshenko withdrew a lawsuit [JURIST reports] filed in the Supreme Administrative Court of Ukraine claiming that the country's presidential election was corrupt. Tymoshenko had alleged that widespread voter fraud allowed Yanukovych to win the election.