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Prosecutor General's Office Hints at New Charges for Khodorkovsky

Published: December 9, 2013 (Issue # 1789)

  • Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
    Photo: Sergei Porter / Vedomosti

Jailed oil tycoon and former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who is set to be freed next year, may face new criminal charges, the Deputy Prosecutor General said.

"Several charges against Khodorkovsky and other people are being probed and have good judicial prospects," Alexander Zvyagintsev said in an interview with Interfax on Friday.

Speculation over a third case against Khodorkovsky has been circulating in the media for the last two years, but this is the first official comment on the matter.

The remarks also follow on the heels of news that President Vladimir Putin supports an amnesty to mark the 20th anniversary of the Constitution next year. Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the Kremlin's human rights council, said the amnesty could apply to Khodorkovsky.

However, Khodorkovsky's lawyer, Vadim Klyuvgant, said the comments by the Prosecutor General's Office were likely nothing more than unverified information.

"I do not know anything about a new case, and I understood nothing from these comments, which are a mixture of fog and lies; I cannot comment on them as if they are a fact," he said, adding that the Prosecutor General's Office had no authority to comment on the Yukos case, as the case was under the jurisdiction of the Investigative Committee.

He added that neither he nor his client had been informed by prosecutors of a possible new case, meaning that it would be a violation of Russian law if a case were really opened.

An unidentified source told Interfax that the possible new charges stemmed from the original case opened in 2003 against Yukos, which still has not been closed.

That case became the basis for all subsequent cases brought against Khodorkovsky, his business partner Platon Lebedev and other Yukos employees.

The source also said that as part of the new case, investigators were looking into the laundering of $10 billion, which was allegedly stolen by Khodorkovsky and others. In addition, the source said, several other criminal cases were opened to determine whether that money was used "for the purpose of changing legislation in Russia."

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