MOSCOW, October 12 - RAPSI. Head of Velsk-Info newspaper Konstantin Mamedov has requested the launch of an investigation into political scientist Sergei Markov's allegations that YUKOS supporters bribed unidentified individuals to reduce former Menatep CEO Platon Lebedev's prison sentence, according to the press center representing the interests of both Lebedev and former YUKOS head Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Due to amendments to criminal legislation, a Velsk court earlier ruled that Lebedev's sentence would be reduced from 13 years to 9 years and eight months on August 8, 2012.

The ruling was contested by the prosecutor's office and Lebedev's attorney. On September 21, the Arkhangelsk Regional Court reversed the ruling and deprived Lebedev of the right to be released in March 2013.

According to Mamedov's application, an article by Tatyana Gomozova on the Kommersant FM website contains a statement made by Markov that he "believes the supporters of YUKOS, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev somehow managed to reach the trial court, and bribed and corrupted someone there, but when the case went to a higher court, the affair was finished."

Mamedov noted that a criminal case may be opened under the Criminal Code as a follow-up to "the report of a committed or a planned crime received from other sources," including the media. He has asked to launch a probe into the report.

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 Khodorkovsky and Lebedev of financial 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.