/ July 17, 2008

Ex-Yukos Chairman Seeks Early End to Imprisonment

Former Russian business tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky will seek early parole for his 2005 imprisonment on charges of tax evasion. Khodorkovsky was the chairman of Yukos Oil company, previously Russia’s largest, private business and greatest symbol of democratic development until his arrest in 2003 along with several other of the company’s top executives. Critics around the world have suspected that the numerous charges the men faced had been falsified by the Kremlin and a great deal of suspicion still surrounds former President Putin since their incarcerations and the government’s subsequent purchase of the company. Khordorkovsky was famous in Russia not only for being the country’s richest citizen but also for his daringly open criticism of Putin’s regime.

Khodorkovsky comes to the half-way point on his eight year sentence, conveniently after the installment of the country’s new President, Dmitri Medvedev. In spite of skepticism that Medvedev was placed in the role by Putin himself, now serving as Prime Minister, Khodorkovsky, along with his team of legal representation, is hopeful that times are changing for the Kremlin. Both he and his lawyers have stated that they have reason to believe the court system in Russia is moving away from its corrupt past and will take a fair amount of consideration into his parole hearing.

Since his arrest in 2003, Khodorkovsky has maintained that he is innocent of all charges pressed and was recently quoted as saying, “From the beginning, there was never any necessity for my confinement, and there is even less at the current moment.” The statement refers to recently surfacing charges of money-laundering that could potentially hurt Khodorkovsky’s chances of an early release.

Source: New York Times

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