MOSCOW, September 21 - RAPSI. The Moscow City Court presidium will hear the supervisory appeal against the sentence passed on former YUKOS head Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his former business partner Platon Lebedev, who were sentenced to 13 years in prison, until the ruling on mitigating Lebedev's sentence comes into effect, head of the Moscow City Court's spokesperson Anna Usacheva told the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/rapsinews.com).
Due to amendments to criminal legislation, on August 8, 2012 the Velsk Court ruled to reduce Lebedev's term from 13 years to 9 years and eight months. The court's ruling was disputed by the prosecutor's office and Lebedev's defense; a further appeal will be heard at the Arkhangelsk Court on September 21.
"Until the ruling on mitigating Lebedev's punishment comes into effect, the Moscow City Court's presidium will not even be able to set the date for the supervisory appeal. Any professional lawyer should know this," Usacheva said.
On Tuesday, former YUKOS head's attorney Vadim Klyuvgant submitted an official query to the Moscow City Court, stating that the Supreme Court's chairman had initiated a supervisory proceeding at Khodorkovsky's request on July 24, and it had been submitted to the court's presidium for consideration.
The YUKOS case has been one of the most high profile in Russia over recent years. In the early 2000s, the authorities accused YUKOS executives Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev of economic crimes. YUKOS, then the country's largest oil company, went bankrupt and its assets were taken over by Rosneft. Many in the West believe the case was politically driven, although Moscow denies the charges.
In 2005, Khodorkovsky and 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, considering the time they had already served for their previous convictions from their first trial. However, the Moscow City Court reduced their sentences by one year in May 2011.