MOSCOW, July 17 - RAPSI. The trial of former major YUKOS shareholder Leonid Nevzlin, charged with the theft of shares and already convicted for life for organizing murders, will start in the defendant's absence on July 30, Moscow's Simonovsky District Сourt told the Russian Legal Information Agency on Tuesday.

As a trial in absentia does not require preliminary hearings, the court will therefore hear the case on its merits from the outset.

Nevzlin fled to Israel, but was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in absentia.

Russia placed him on the international wanted list.

Nevzlin is believed to have misappropriated 38 percent of the shares in Tomskneft, the Achinsky Refinery and other companies as a member of an organized criminal group in 1998. The shares were then contributed to the VNK (Eastern Oil Company) charter capital. The shares value was estimated at more than 3 billion rubles ($93.03 million).

Major YUKOS shareholders Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Platon Lebedev and YUKOS EP Executive Manager Ramil Burganov were previously also convicted in the case.

In 2003, Nevzlin served as the chancellor of the Russian State Humanitarian University. The same year, as soon as the YUKOS case opened, he left for Israel and was granted Israeli citizenship.