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Khodorkovsky faces no charges in former YUKOS top managers’ case

Eighteen YUKOS top managers have been put on the international wanted list as part of this investigation, source says

MOSCOW, December 09. /ITAR-TASS/. YUKOS ex-president Mikhail Khodorkovsky is facing no charges in the case of former YUKOS top managers suspected of money laundering, including former CEO Steven Theede, a well informed source told ITAR-TASS on Monday, December 9.

“The investigation of the main YUKOS case is still underway. Eighteen YUKOS top managers have been put on the international wanted list as part of this investigation,” the source said.

“However Khodorkovsky’s status in this criminal case has not been determined yet and no charges have been brought against him thus far,” he added.

In 2006, a criminal case was opened against Theede, Chief Financial Officer Bruce Misamore and managing adviser David Godfrey, and Group Menatep Ltd. Tim Osborne on charges of embezzlement or misuse of property and money laundering acquired illegally.

“Judging from the case files, they had colluded to embezzle YUKOS’ foreign assets. According to the investigators, they were credibly aware that one of the companies created by YUKOS in Holland owned a part of stock in several foreign companies. In order to take possession of these shares, Theede registered a special fund in the Netherlands in April 2005 and appointed himself, Misamore, Godfrey and Osborne as its directors. At their disposal were more than 10 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of assets in the form of cash, Eurobonds, corporate bonds, shares of industrial enterprises, portfolio investments in various foreign funds and money in trust management by trusts and foreign banks,” the source said.

“Subsequently, in order to conceal the illegal origin of the stolen property, a part of these shares was sold to other foreign companies,” the source added.

He said that “the criminal case on money laundering is being investigated as part of the main YUKOS case.”

Earlier, a second criminal case against Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev was separated from the main case.

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.

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 Khamovnichesky District Court pronounced Khodorkovsky and Lebedev guilty of embezzlement and money laundering in a second criminal case and sentenced them to 14 years in prison.

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.

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. The Moscow City Court’s presidium on December 20, 2012 reduced the sentence to 11 years.

Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were sent to prisons in the Arkhangelsk region and Karelia, respectively. Their prison terms was to end in 2016.

On August 6, 2013, the Supreme Court cut it further to 10 years and 10 months so that Lebedev is to be set free in May 2014 and Khodorkovsky in August 2014.

Several former YUKOS to managers have been sentenced for various offences, including Leonid Nevzlin, Ramil Burganov, Vladimir Dubov, Svetlana Bakhmina, Vasily Aleksanyan, Alexei Kurtsin, Andrei Krasinov, and Vasily Shakhnovsky.