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Ukraine's Tymoshenko Under Investigation

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 opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko reacted to a government investigation on Wednesday by accusing authorities of systematically terrorizing the political opposition.

Ms. Tymoshenko made the statement after the Ukrainian prosecutor's office opened a criminal probe into allegations that her government had misused about $290 million in state funds when she was prime minister.

Speaking in Kyiv, Ms. Tymoshenko said she has been summoned to appear before prosecutors December 20 in connection with the investigation, launched in April.

She flatly rejected the pending charges. A statement on her website accused the authorities of trying to intimidate the opposition "without any respect for the law."

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

Ms. Tymoshenko narrowly lost a presidential election earlier this year to pro-Russian opponent Viktor Yanukovych. President Yanokovych's government ordered the investigation.

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