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MOSCOW, July 26 (Itar-Tass) - The European Court of Human Rights’ judgment on the case of former YUKOS CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev, handed down on Thursday, July 25, does not suggest that they are not guilty, the Justice Ministry said.
It said new court proceedings may be held in the case but only in order to remedy the violations stated by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
The ECHR ruled that the prosecution of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev was not politically motivated but pointed to a number of violations committed by Russian courts during the trial.
In May 2005, Moscow’s Meshchansky Court found Lebedev and Khodorkovsky guilty under several articles of the Russian Criminal Code, including fraud and tax evasion and sentenced them to nine years in prison. Later the Moscow City Court reduced the term to eight years.
In February 2007, the Prosecutor General’s Office brought new charges against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev, accusing them of having legalised 450 billion roubles and 7.5 billion U.S. dollars in 1998-2004 by stealing state-owned shares as well as embezzling oil and legalising earnings from its sale.
Since the prison term begins from the time a person has been put in custody, Lebedev’s term would have ended in July 2011, and Khodorkovsky’s in October 2011.
However in February 2007, the Prosecutor General’s Office brought new charges against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev, accusing them of having legalised 450 billion roubles and 7.5 billion U.S. dollars in 1998-2004 by stealing state-owned shares as well as embezzling oil and legalising earnings from its sale.
On December 30, 2010, Moscow's Khamovniki Court sentenced Lebedev and Khodorkovsky to 14 years in prison for oil theft and money laundering in a second criminal case.
In May 2011, the Moscow City Court commuted the sentence for Lebedev and Khodorkovsky to 13 years. The verdict became effective.
The Moscow City Court also upheld the prosecutor's petition, cutting the amount of stolen oil by 130 million tonnes and its value by more than 68 billion roubles.
Moscow's Khamovniky Court Judge Viktor Danilkin said at the trial that “the guilt of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev is borne out by the proof examined during the judicial investigation.”
The judge proclaimed Khodorkovsky and Lebedev guilty of stealing oil from a producing company and of laundering ill-gotten funds.
At the same time, the court dropped certain criminal charged against the defendants due to the statute of limitation. Lebedev's lawyer Konstantin Rivkin referred particularly to the episode concerning the theft of Eastern Oil Company (VNK) shares.
Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were sent to prisons in the Arkhangelsk region and Karelia, respectively. Their prison terms end in 2016.
On August 8, 2012, a court in Arkhangelsk commuted Lebedev’s prison term by three years and four months.