MOSCOW, January 23 (RAPSI) - The Russian Supreme Court has upheld an earlier judgment obligating former YUKOS head Mikhail Khodorkovsky to pay 17 billion rubles (approximately $550 million) in back taxes, RAPSI reports from the courtroom on Thursday.

Moscow’s Meshchansky District Court held in 2005 to collect the money from Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev. Khodorkovsky filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) asserting his right to the protection of property based on having been ordered to reimburse Yukos' tax arrears to the State. The ECHR agreed on this point in July 2013.

Human Rights Commissioner Vladimir Lukin had earlier filed several appeals with Russian courts challenging the earlier decision against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev.

Lukin said he disagreed with the decision and wanted to get it overturned. However, the Moscow City Court responded in July by saying that the "material damage inflicted by their crime amounted to 17 billion rubles, which was supported by the evidence collected on the case. Therefore, the court passed the right decision to collect the amount from the perpetrators in full."

Following the Supreme Court decision, Khodorkovsky spokeswoman Olga Pispanen told reporters that the defense is going to further seek a cancellation of the back-tax claims by means of “all available legal mechanisms.”

Lebedev's attorney Vladimir Krasnov added that his client will not give up.

In 2005, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were sentenced to eight years in prison for fraud and tax evasion. The second trial commenced in March 2009 and concluded with a guilty verdict in December 2010. The Khamovnichesky District Court of Moscow sentenced both men to 14 years in prison for oil theft and money laundering.

Khodorkovsky was released December 20 from serving out his sentence further as Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree pardoning him.

In the same decision passed on Thursday the Russian Supreme Court has held that the sentence against Lebedev should be reduced to time served.