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MOSCOW, November 10 (Itar-Tass) — Moscow’s Zamoskvoretsky court on Thursday will start consideration on the merits of the criminal case against former Yukos co-owner Vladimir Dubov, who is accused of embezzling 76 billion non-redenominated roubles from the budget. The trial is held in absentia.
The trial was to begin in late October, but was postponed due to the absence of the representative of the injured party, which in the case is the administration of the Volgograd region (the judge then doubted that the lawyer of the administration had been duly notified of the date of the hearing).
During Thursday’s meeting the prosecutor will read out the indictment, after which Dubov’s lawyers will present their stance on the charges brought against the defendant.
The proceedings will be held in absentia, because the defendant since 2003 has been residing in Israel.
Dubov is charged in absentia with fraud by embezzlement, as well as causing property damage with no signs of theft (Articles 159 and 165 of the RF Criminal Code).
According to investigators, a tripartite netting agreement was signed in 1997 between the RF Ministry of Finance, Yukos' subsidiary Yuganskneftegaz and the administration of the Volgograd region. Violating the agreement, Dubov, who at that time was head of the management company of Yukos, stole from the budget of the Volgograd region about 76 billion (non-redenominated) roubles allocated to the region to build housing for military personnel.
Dubov claimed that the arrest warrant against him was issued on the orders of the Russian President as part of a campaign of political intimidation against reformists. Following the issuing of an Interpol ”red” notice, a request for extradition was sent to Israel by the Basmanny District Court of Moscow. The request was ignored.
OJSC Yukos Oil Company was a petroleum company in Russia which, until 2003, was controlled by Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky and a number of other prominent Russian businessmen. After Yukos was bankrupted, Khodorkovsky was convicted and sent to prison.
Yukos headquarters was located in Moscow. Yukos was one of the biggest and most successful Russian companies in 2000-2003. In 2003, following a tax reassessment, the Russian government presented Yukos with a series of tax claims that amounted to $27 billion. As Yukos’ assets were frozen by the government at the same time, the company was not able to pay these tax demands. On August 1, 2006, a Russian court declared Yukos bankrupt. Most of Yukos’ assets were sold at low prices to oil companies owned by the Russian government. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has condemned Russia’s campaign against Yukos and its owners as manufactured for political reasons and a violation of human rights.