Money Matters - Simplified

Oil CEO in Russia guilty, prosecutors say

Moscow -- Prosecutors in Russia said former Yukos Chief Executive Officer Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner were guilty as charged.

Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev have been charged with stealing $9.6 billion from the oil company between 1999 and 2003, RIA Novosti reported Thursday. In addition, prosecutors say the pair stole 350 million tons of oil.

They are each serving eight-year sentences for tax evasion and fraud. The Moscow News said Thursday the two are nearing the end of their sentences and that prosecutors are now asking for lighter terms for the thefts than originally sought.

"We will ask the punishment for Khodorkovsky and Lebedev to be considered with the easing of the law," the prosecutor said.

The maximum sentence, changed earlier this year, is 15 years, The Moscow News said.
Khodorkovsky maintains the charges are political motivated and part of a government campaign to dismantle the company, which was declared bankrupt in 2006.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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