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Presidential Council recommends resumption of Khodorkovsky/Lebedev case

December 21, 2011, 23:03 UTC+3

Medvedev said then he would be grateful to the expert community for a legal analysis of the court’s decisions

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MOSCOW, December 21 (Itar-Tass) — Council for the Development of Civic Society and Human Rights reporting to Russia’s President has issued a recommendation to the Investigations Committee to resume investigation of the criminal case over the activity of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the CEO of the defunct oil industry giant Yukos, and Platon Lebedev, the head of the MENATEP financial company who was Khodorkovsky’s close business partner.

The Council recommended the resumption of investigative actions in connection with newly discovered evidence, says a letter of recommendations it issued upon the results of a public expert study of Yukos’s “second case”.

“The Council members find it necessary to recommend the opening of investigative procedures and investigation of the grounds for revising this criminal case in the light of newly discovered evidence,” the letter says.

It suggests that a major judicial flaw was made in the course of investigation of the previous case.

An expert study of Yukos’s second case has exposed major infringements in the course of its consideration in the courtroom, Tamara Morshchakova, a member of the Council said.

She indicated that the sentence described Yukos’s activities as criminal ones but an expert group came to a conclusion that “all the economic steps were taken /by the corporation’s executives – Itar-Tass/ on legal grounds and were hence quite legitimate.”

According to Morshchakova, the court sized up as criminal the operations that were quite legitimate.

“The actions of the defendants didn’t contain any evidence of crime or embezzlement, or at least the experts say so,” she said.

Also, the experts pointed out a number of encroachments on the presumption of innocence and a range of norms of international law.

“Besides, the Council finds it important to petition to the Prosecutor General for a revision of the sentence,” Morshchakova said.

The initiative for holding the expert study of the case was voiced at a meeting between President Dmitry Medvedev and members of the Council in the city of Yekaterinburg February 1, 2011.

Medvedev said then he would be grateful to the expert community for a legal analysis of the court’s decisions.

Experts say in their letter they fully set aside the political assessments of the case. At the same time, the Council guarantees that the experts did not have a conflict of interests and that they did their job free of charge and with full observance of confidentiality.


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