Khodorkovsky verdict expected

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The Independent Online

The verdict in the second trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, formerly Russia's richest man, is expected today on charges of fraud that most analysts believe were politically motivated.

Mr Khodorkovsky, who once ran the Yukos oil company, was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2005, when Vladimir Putin was Russia's president, but has been jailed since 2003.

For the past year, he has been on trial in Moscow on new charges of embezzlement and money laundering. The legal process has at times been farcical and appears designed to ensure that he is not released when his initial sentence finishes next year.

The prosecution has asked for a further 14-year sentence and after a marathon trial and six weeks of deliberation, the judge is due to begin the process of reading the verdict.