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Khodorkovsky found guilty in test for Russia

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by Mallaba, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. Mallaba

    Mallaba JF-Expert Member

    Dec 27, 2010
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    Jailed Russian former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky stands in the defendants' cage before the start of a court session in Moscow December 27, 2010. [Photo/Agencies]

    MOSCOW - A Russian judge pronounced Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev guilty of embezzlement on Monday at the end of the jailed former oil tycoon's second trial.

    The judge said the two men were also guilty of laundering stolen oil funds. Sentencing was not expected until later.
    The accusation of stealing oil from his now-defunct company Yukos was the main charge against Khodorkovsky in the trial.
    Prosecutors have asked the judge to sentence Khodorkovsky to six more years in prison on top of the eight years he is serving now.
    Reading the verdict in the trial, judge Viktor Danilkin said the court had established that Khodorkovsky and Lebedev "carried out the embezzlement of property entrusted to the defendants."
    Enclosed in a glass-and-steel courtroom cage, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev pointed ignored the judge as he read out the widely expect guilty verdict, whispering to one another and reading books and documents.
    A crowd of a few hundred supporters outside the courthouse chanted "Freedom!".
    Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man and head of its biggest oil producer, is nearing the end of an eight-year sentence imposed in a fraud and tax-evasion trial that shaped Vladimir Putin's 2000-2008 presidency.
    In his new trial, prosecutors argued he stole $27 billion in oil from Yukos subsidiaries through pricing schemes. His lawyers dismiss the charges as an absurd, politically motivated pretext to keep him behind bars.
    Dressed in black, Khodorkovsky, 47, was led into the cage in the Moscow shortly before Danilkin entered and began reading the verdict. Dressed in black and looking pale but composed, Khodorkovsky waved and flashed a smile to the packed room.
    It was unclear when the judge would finish reading the verdict and announce a sentence.

    mytake: this seems to be more political motivation coz he has been challenging Medvedev and it is still unclear whether he really had stolled and money laundry.
    Let us see the send of this saga.
  2. Mallaba

    Mallaba JF-Expert Member

    Dec 27, 2010
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    Judge Viktor Danilkin reads the verdict in jailed Russia's former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky's second trial in Moscow December 27, 2010. [Photo/Agencies]

    Jailed Russian former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev (R) stand in the defendants' cage before the start of a court session in Moscow December 27, 2010. [Photo/Agencies]
  3. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

    Dec 28, 2010
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    Analysis: Khodorkovsky verdict confirms Putin's grip on power

    The convictions of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, his former business partner, come as further confirmation that Vladimir Putin still holds the reins of power in Russia in spite of ceding the presidency to Dmitry Medvedev.

    [​IMG] Mikhail Khodorkovsky is likely to stay behind bars for a long time Photo: AP

    By Roland Oliphant in Moscow 4:45PM GMT 27 Dec 2010

    Before the verdict there was some speculation that Mr Medvedev, who took over as president while Mr Putin became prime minister, would allow Mr Khodorkovsky to be freed. He had begun his presidency vowing to fight "legal nihilism", and has often spoken about the need for an independent judiciary.

    It would have been a powerful sign of his commitment if the court had thrown out the Kafkaesque charges against Mr Khodorkovsky, which amount to an allegation that he stole all the oil his company had produced. It would also have made a nonsense of the original conviction for evading taxes from selling that oil.

    At times too during the trial it seemed like the defence would win. Several high profile figures, including a former Putin trade minister who is head of the Russia's largest state-owned bank, testified to Mr Khodorkovsky's and Mr Lebedev's innocence. They were also absolved by their auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

    In the end, the semblance of due process was, as an American diplomat wrote in a leaked embassy cable last November, like putting "lipstick on a pig". The political reality is that powerful people are determined to keep Mr Khodorkovsky behind bars. This is partly because they fear a challenge to the redistribution of assets that followed Mr Khodorkovsky's downfall. More generally though, Mr Khodorkovsky's incarceration has become harder to overturn as it has become a central part of the narrative of Mr Putin's political career.

    The ruthlessness applied to the destruction of Yukos is no less important to Mr Putin's macho image than photo opportunities with tigers or shots of him swimming in Siberian rivers. Letting Mr Khodorkovsky go would be seen as a sign of weakness, not clemency.

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    Most Russians have little love of the fallen oligarch. This second conviction and the apparent absurdity of the charges is unlikely to damage Mr Putin or Mr Medvedev, who has made no secret after all that he values continuity with the previous presidency above reform.
    Whatever sentence is eventually handed down this time, Mr Khodorkovsky must contemplate the possibility that he will not be released as long as Mr Putin is in charge. If Mr Putin chooses to stand for president again in 2012 and serves two six-year terms, as he would be allowed to do, that day will be a long way off.
  4. Mallaba

    Mallaba JF-Expert Member

    Dec 29, 2010
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    this seems to be more political motivation.Uk and other Eu countries have spoken against this verdiction.