MOSCOW, March 5 - RAPSI. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has ordered the Prosecutor General's Office to examine the lawfulness and validity of indictments against 32 people, including former YUKOS head Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former Menatep head Platon Lebedev and former head of YUKOS security service Alexei Pichugin, the Kremlin's press-service reported on Monday.
In 2005, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev were sentenced to eight years in prison for fraud and tax evasion. In late 2010, a Moscow district court sentenced them to 14 years in prison for oil theft and money laundering. They were expected to be released in 2017, taking into account the time they had already served for their convictions from their first trial in 2005. However, on May 24, the Moscow City Court reduced their sentences by one year. They now may be released in 2016.
The YUKOS case has been one of the most high profile in Russia in recent years. In the early 2000s, the authorities accused the executives of YUKOS, then the country's largest oil company, of economic crimes. YUKOS then went bankrupt while its assets were transferred to Rosneft. Many in the West believe the case was politically driven, but Moscow denies the charges.