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Contract Killings


Friday, 1 August 2008

Leonid Nevzlin, a former deputy chairman of Yukos, ‘has been sentenced to life in a high-security prison,

Moscow court on Friday sentenced a former partner of jailed Yukos oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky in absentia to life in prison for ordering four contract killings, a court official told Agence France-Presse.Leonid Nevzlin, a former deputy chairman of Yukos, ‘has been sentenced to life in a high-security prison,’ said a spokeswoman for the Moscow City Court.A Russian court on Friday found an Israel-based partner of jailed Yukos oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky guilty of ordering four contract killings in a case dismissed by the defence as a farce.In a gruesome account of Russia's wild capitalism years, judge Valery Novikov at the Moscow City Court said Leonid Nevzlin had organised four murders of business rivals and officials while working for Khodorkovsky."The court has established that the accused, Nevzlin, organised the execution of several especially serious crimes," said Novikov, reading from a lengthy official verdict.
The shootings and bombings were paid for by Nevzlin, the judge said.The trial comes just days before a court in Siberia is due to hold a parole hearing for Khodorkovsky, who is serving out an eight-year jail term for financial crimes involving his now defunct Yukos oil empire.Nevzlin, a former deputy chairman of Yukos, fled to Israel in 2003 when the investigations began. He now has Israeli citizenship and Israel has refused to extradite him.Though the defendant's cell stood empty during the trial, Nevzlin was represented by his lawyer, Dmitry Kharitonov, who insisted on his client's innocence. "Nevzlin is not guilty," Kharitonov told AFP."There is absolutely no basis to consider this trial fair. From the very beginning, Nevzlin and his defence have been denied almost all their lawful rights," Kharitonov told Radio Free Europe in an interview last month.
Speaking outside the court, Farida Islamova, the widow of one of Nevzlin's victims, the mayor of an oil town in Siberia, said: "I am fully satisfied with the verdict. My husband was killed for doing his job."Islamova's husband Vladimir Petukhov, the mayor of Nefteyugansk, was gunned down in 1998. His widow alleged that Khodorkovsky had threatened him a month before his death and that there had been threats against her own life."The leadership of Yukos, and Khodorkovsky himself, constantly threatened him. After Khodorkovsky was arrested, I was constantly threatened, followed and bugged because I was a witness," Islamova said.
In a series of inquiries since 2003, Khodorkovsky has been found guilty on multiple counts of tax evasion and embezzlement and has been charged with money laundering. He has never been formally accused of murder.The Yukos investigations have been seen by analysts as a political campaign to destroy the power of Yukos, which was once Russia's biggest oil company, and of Khodorkovsky, formerly the richest man in the country.Khodorkovsky also incurred the wrath of President Vladimir Putin, now the country's prime minister, by funding opposition parties and proposing plans to build a privately-funded pipeline to pump Yukos oil to China, analysts said.
Yukos has been declared bankrupt and its assets sold off in a process that has benefited state-controlled Rosneft, which is chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin and has become Russia's biggest producer.

1 comment:

Digit-8 said...

Where can i get a judgement of this case? Any one knows the database where it is uploaded?

Please leave my a comment on my blog if you know and can help me.

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