MOSCOW, August 25 (RAPSI) – Investigation into the oil giant Yukos case has been extended until December 2, RIA Novosti reported on Thursday.
The Yukos case was launched in 2003. Later cases against company ex-owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky, his former business partner Platon Lebedev and other high-ranking Yukos employees, some of them were put on the wanted list or convicted in absentia, have been singled out for considering them in a separate procedure.
In 2005, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were sentenced to nine years in prison for fraud and tax evasion. Later the terms were reduced to eight years in prison. 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.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an executive order releasing Khodorkovsky, who spent 10 years in prison for fraud and embezzlement, on December 20, 2013. The same day Khodorkovsky went to Berlin on a chartered flight. Lebedev’s sentence was mitigated to the served term; he was released in January 2014.
In June 2015, Russia’s Investigative Committee reported reopening of investigation into the murder of Nefteyugansk mayor Vladimir Petukhov.
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. Alexei Pichugin, Yukos former security chief, 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.
In December, Khodorkovsky was charged with organizing the murder of Petukhov. Later the Basmanny District Court of Moscow issued an arrest warrant for Khodorkovsky and put him on the international wanted list.
Khodorkovsky who is currently abroad earlier said that he would not participate in another criminal trial of him in Russia.