Sentence cut for jailed former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky

 

Russia's highest court has reduced 11-year prison terms for jailed former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner - by two months.

The pair had asked the court to overturn their guilty verdicts and release them immediately.

The ruling means Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man, is set to be released in August next year, and his partner Platon Lebedev will be freed in May.

Their lawyers said they would appeal against the ruling, which upheld the 2010 guilty verdict.

Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were arrested in 2003 and convicted in 2005 of evading taxes on the Yukos oil company in a case widely seen as president Vladimir Putin's revenge forKhodorkovsky's challenge to his power.

Khodorkovsky's Yukos oil company was dismantled after his arrest, with its most lucrative assets ending up in the hands of state-owned Rosneft.

The two were convicted again in a second case in 2010 on charges of stealing oil from Yukos and laundering the proceeds. Last December, Moscow City Court reduced their prison sentence from 13 years to 11 years.

Addressing the Supreme Court over a videolink from a prison colony in north-western Russia, Khodorkovsky urged it to overturn what he called the "juridically illiterate verdict".

Khodorkovsky said the 2010 verdict was a "flagrant display of scorn for the law" driven by "irrational fears of government officials" at seeing him and Lebedev free.

Last month, Europe's top human rights court dismissed claims that Khodorkovsky was prosecuted for political reasons in the first case, but said that some procedures during a trial against him were unfair.

Khodorkovsky said that the 2010 verdict, which found him guilty of stealing oil, was in contradiction to his first verdict, which found him guilty of not paying taxes on that same oil.

"We are not even talking here of the execution of the law, but of a willingness to destroy law as such, and the reputation of the judicial system, and trust in this state institution - merely for the sake of extending a prison term for opponents of the authorities," he said.

Khodorkovsky's supporters fear that investigators are preparing another set of charges to keep him behind bars.

In May, Sergei Guriev, a leading liberal economist, fled Russia saying he wanted to escape pressure from a new probe focusing on an independent report that was critical of the 2010 verdict. Investigators claimed that its authors had a conflict of interest because they had previously received money from Khodorkovsky.

AP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence