Money Matters - Simplified

Prosecutors lower allegation of oil theft

Moscow -- Prosecutors in Russia for the second time in the same trial reduced the volume of crude oil they allege was stolen by Yukos' former chief executive officer.

On Friday, prosecutors said former Yukos Chief Executive Officer Mikhail Khodorkovsky and business partner Platon Lebedev stole 20 million tons less than previously charged. On Monday, prosecutors reduced that by 131 million tons more, citing a mathematical error and a lack of evidence, RIA Novosti reported.

Khodorkovsky and Lebedev are nearing the end of eight-year sentences for tax evasion and fraud. While in jail, prosecutors came up a charge of theft of 350 million tons of oil and $9.6 billion, which allegedly occurred from 1998 to 2003.

Khodorkovsky claims the charges are part of a government scheme to take down the company, which was the largest energy company in Russia.
Yukos was declared bankrupt and its assets sold in 2006.

Copyright 2010 United Press International

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