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    Ukraine state gas company head charged over Gazprom deal

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    The head of Ukraine's state-owned gas company, Naftogaz, has been charged with abuse of office over the 2009 contract with Russian energy giant Gazprom, prosecutors say.

    The head of Ukraine's state-owned gas company, Naftogaz, has been charged with abuse of office over the 2009 contract with Russian energy giant Gazprom, prosecutors say.

    Oleh Dubyna became the latest in a crackdown on Ukraine's top-ranking officials linked to the previous government.

    Former prime minister turned opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, who oversaw the signing of the contract that the prosecutor's office claims cost Ukraine $194.6 million in lost revenue, was accused of misusing her position by unilaterally agreeing to Gazprom's terms.

    Last year, Tymoshenko was charged with misspending $425 million meant for environmental projects into pension funds.

    Tymoshenko said she is being targeted by pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych - her long-term rival - to divert public attention from the possible ditching of Ukraine's associate EU entry bid.

    "Yanukovych is preparing a media base for betraying national interests," she told the Kommersant-Ukraina daily on Monday. "It will be like this: look, Tymoshenko signed this contract and now we should scrap our European plans and go to the Customs Union."

    Earlier, Yanukovych said Ukraine would pursue ties with the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan in a 3+1 format after Gazprom said a union entry would cut the country's gas bill by $8 billion every year.

    KIEV, April 15 (RIA Novosti)

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