Tymoshenko rejects Ukraine murder link as 'absurd'

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image captionMs Tymoshenko was jailed in October for abuse of power in a 2009 gas deal

Jailed Ukrainian former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has reacted angrily to an accusation of involvement in the 1996 murder of an MP, Yevhen Shcherban.

Mr Shcherban, a powerful businessman, was shot dead with his wife at Donetsk airport in eastern Ukraine.

The deputy prosecutor general said on Friday there were witnesses that she and former PM Pavlo Lazarenko had paid for the murders.

In a statement, Ms Tymoshenko said the claim was "absurd".

Mr Lazarenko said he had "nothing to do with that crime".

'True tragedy'

Last week, Mr Shcherban's son, Ruslan, who survived the gun attack gave a press conference in which he said he had handed the prosecutor general's office documents that implicated the two former prime ministers in the murders.

At the time of the attack, Ms Tymoshenko was head of United Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU).

Ms Tymoshenko said she would never be able to forgive the fact "that the son of the killed man was pulled into this shameful scenario. It is a true tragedy for him, not the grounds for a press conference or a statement".

She was sentenced to seven years in jail in October 2011 on charges of abuse of power over a gas deal which she signed in 2009. Ms Tymoshenko has denounced the allegations as a tissue of lies and the European Union condemned her trial as politically motivated.

One of her former ministers, Georgiy Filipchuk, was jailed last week, also for abuse of power, in a judgement she condemned as political revenge wrought by her rival, President Viktor Yanukovych.

Ms Tymoshenko lost the 2010 presidential election to Mr Yanukovych, six years after he was defeated by her former ally and fellow Orange Revolution leader Viktor Yushchenko.

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