„New charges” for Russian tycoon


Jailed Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky is facing new charges of money-laundering, his lawyer says.

Yury Shmidt told the Interfax news agency that the prosecutor-general’s office had informed the defence team of the new charges. Khodorkovsky, the former chairman of Yukos, has been transferred to a prison in the town of Chita, eastern Siberia. He has been serving an eight-year term at a penal colony in Krasnokamensk, in the Chita region. He was jailed for fraud and tax evasion and has had several spells in solitary confinement. Khodorkovsky built up a multi-billion-dollar fortune before falling foul of the authorities. He was arrested in 2003 along with his business associate Platon Lebedev. Shmidt told Interfax that Lebedev had also been transferred to the prison in Chita. He had been serving his sentence in Kharp, in the far north of Russia. Critics accused Khodorkovsky of exploiting Russia’s natural wealth for personal gain. His supporters say the case against him was politically motivated and he is paying the price for his political ambitions. Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were facing the possibility of release in 2008-2009 - but that appears unlikely now that new charges are being laid against them. (BBC NEWS)



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