Russian ex-oil tycoon convicted in fraud case

December 27th, 2010 - 3:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Dec 27 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russia’s former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev were found guilty of embezzling 218 tonnes of oil worth $97.5 million by a Moscow court Monday.Khodorkovsky and Lebedev, who have already spent seven years behind bars for tax evasion, are facing new charges of embezzling 218 tonnes of oil from Khodorkovsky’s former oil firm Yukos and laundering over 3 billion rubles ($97.5 million) in revenues.

The two men face up to 14 years in jail, though a sentence has not yet been handed down in the much publicised case which the defendants claimed was politically motivated.

The Khamovniki court has banned the live broadcast of the verdict announcement, preventing over 100 journalists from covering the event.

Only cameramen of Russian and foreign TV channels and over 30 representatives of print media have been allowed into the court. Some 150 other journalists are queuing in front of the building.

The defence for Khodorkovsky and Lebedev earlier said prosecutors could press a third set of charges against the ex-Yukos executives in the near future.

Asked about the case Dec 16, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said: “I think that a thief should be in jail.”

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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