Russian prosecutors demand 14 years jail for Khodorkovsky

Russian prosecutors today demanded 14-year sentences for jailed oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev, on trial for embezzlement.

Moscow: Russian prosecutors today demanded
14-year sentences for jailed oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky
and his business partner Platon Lebedev, on trial for
embezzlement.

"We ask finally for a sentence of 14 years in a
standard-regime colony," prosecutor Valery Lakhtin said in
final arguments at the trial at Moscow`s Khamovnichesky
district court of the ex-Yukos chief and his co-accused
Lebedev.

Lakhtin said that the sentence should be "with
consideration of time served," without elaborating.

Khodorkovsky, the former head of Yukos oil company and
once Russia`s richest man, and Lebedev have both pleaded not
guilty to the charges.

He was jailed along with Lebedev for eight years in 2005
on fraud and tax evasion charges that his supporters argue
were trumped up to punish the tycoon for daring to finance
opposition parties.

Before being convicted, the two men spent two years
behind bars in pre-trial detention.

They went on trial again on March 3 last year on fresh
charges of embezzling millions of tonnes of oil and money
laundering that they have derided as farcical, but which could
see them jailed for another two decades.

At the time of his arrest in 2003, Khodorkovsky was seen
as a political rival to then-President Vladimir Putin.

Putin last month accused Khodorkovsky of resorting to
murder to protect his business interests.

"His hands are stained with blood," Putin told a meeting
of the Valdai club of leading international experts on Russia.
"He killed people to protect the economic interests of his
company".

PTI