ARKHANGELSK, March 20 - RAPSI. The Arkhangelsk Regional Court's presidium has denied the parole appeal of Platon Lebedev, former Menatep CEO and YUKOS Chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky's partner who is serving 11 years in prison for oil theft, RIA Novosti reports from the courtroom on Wednesday.

The court presidium has thus upheld the order of the lower courts that resolved against releasing him on parole. It has also excluded the reference to Lebedev's refusal to confess to the crime from an order of the Velsk District Court.

The Supreme Court ordered the review proceedings in the case, as the lower court based its verdict on evidence that included the defendant's refusal to confess, which is considered illegitimate grounds.

Lebedev's lawyers reported they will appeal to the Supreme Court's order.

In July 2011, Velsk District Court Judge Nikolai Raspopov rejected Lebedev's parole application. The Arkhangelsk Regional Court has reviewed the case five times since that date.

The YUKOS case is one of the most high-profile cases in Russia in recent years. In the early 2000s, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were charged with economic crimes.
YUKOS, then the country's largest oil company, was declared bankrupt and its assets were taken over by Rosneft. Many in the West believe that 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 within the first YUKOS case.

In late 2010, the Khamovniki District Court sentenced them to 14 years in prison for stealing oil and laundering money as part of a second case. They were expected to be released in 2017, taking into account the time that they had served for the convictions handed down during their first trial.

Their sentences were later reduced by one year.On December 20, 2012, the Moscow City Court Presidium reduced their sentences from 13 to 11 years. Khodorkovsky is serving his sentence in the Segezha prison, while Lebedev is serving his sentence in Velsk.

On March 19, 2013, Lebedev appealed to the Investigative Committee to open a criminal case against the Moscow City Court judges who considered the appeal against the ruling of the Khamovniki District Court, which sentenced Lebedev and Khodorkovsky to 14 years in prison.

Lebedev claims that the judges committed forgery when considering the appeal against the Khamovniki District Court's ruling and believes that they should be prosecuted.

Lebedev's appeal lists various claims, such as the "inclusion of evidently false information in the court ruling, which constitutes conscious forgery by an official."