MOSCOW, June 10 (RAPSI) – Former Yukos security chief Alexei Pichugin convicted of masterminding several murders has lost an application for pardon, RIA Novosti reported citing his lawyer Ksenia Kostromina.

“Alexei Pichugin has lodged a petition for pardon as this was the only legal chance for his release. He has already been refused,” Kostromina said.

Earlier, Vedomosti newspaper reported that Pichugin had turned to President Vladimir Putin petitioning for pardon.

According to investigators, a criminal group killed several people between 1998 and 2002, including Petukhov, on orders from former Yukos shareholder Leonid Nevzlin. In 2009, Nevzlin, who moved to Israel in 2003, was sentenced in absentia to life in prison.

Pichugin was found guilty of murdering Petukhov and received a life sentence in 2008.

The murder of Petukhov provoked a public outcry 17 years ago, when several media outlets speculated that he was directly involved in the re-division of Russia’s oil assets. Investigation into Petukhov’s murder was suspended.

In December 2015, former Yukos owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky was charged with organizing the murder of Petukhov. The Basmanny District Court of Moscow issued an arrest warrant for Khodorkovsky and put him on the international wanted list.