MOSCOW, July 1. /TASS/. A well-known Russian lawyer Mikhail Barschevsky has admitted his mistake when saying that former Yukos oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky cannot be targeted in a probe into the 1998 murder of mayor of Nefteyugansk as the "statute of limitations" has expired.
In an interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station on Tuesday, Barschevsky said Vladimir Petukhov, the mayor of Nefteyugansk where Yukos's biggest unit was based, was killed 17 years ago and therefore Khodorkovsky cannot be held accountable.
This was later rejected by the official spokesman of Russia’s Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin.
"Vladimir Markin paid attention to my mistake as under part 4 of article 78 of Russia’s Criminal Code the issue on applying the statute of limitations on the crimes, in which the punishment measure implies life sentence, is decided by the court," Barschevsky said.
"The opening of the criminal case, handing it over to the court and delivering judgement is permissible," the lawyer said, adding however that no life imprisonment is possible here.
Vladimir Petukhov was shot dead on June 26, 1998 and his bodyguard was wounded. Shortly before that Petukhov had a conflict with Yukos over tax evasion, which resulted in wage arrears and disruptions in the operation of utilities services.
Markin told TASS on Tuesday that the Investigative Committee has re-opened a probe into the criminal case on the murder of the Nefteyugansk mayor amid new information that Khodorkovsky might have ordered the murder and a number of other crimes.
"According to evidence at the disposal of the Investigative Committee, the man who ordered that murder and a number of other exceptionally grave crimes might have been Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky," Markin said.