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Former Ukrainian PM Charged With Misuse of State Funds

Former Ukranian Prime Minister and opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko speaks to the media in front of the Prosecutor General's Office in Kiev, 15 Dec 2010

Ukrainian prosecutors have filed formal charges against opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko for the alleged misuse of state funds during her 2007-to-2010 tenure as prime minister.

Prosecutors confirmed last week they are investigating Ms. Tymoshenko on suspicion of misusing about $290 million. She immediately rejected the charges and accused authorities of "systematically terrorizing" the opposition.

Prosecutors allege the misused funds were proceeds from the sale of carbon emission credits under the global climate treaty known as the Kyoto Protocol.

Ms. Tymoshenko has said she used the funds to pay pensions during the 2008-to-2009 global financial crisis, which devastated the Ukrainian economy.

The pro-Western Ms. Tymoshenko narrowly lost a presidential election to her pro-Russian rival earlier this year. Months later, the government of President Viktor Yanukovych ordered the probe.