Ex-Yukos boss Lebedev returns to court for parole hearing

Former Yukos oil company boss Platon Lebedev was taken back to the Velsk Regional court on Wednesday morning for the second day of his parole hearing.

Dressed in his dark prison clothes and a cap, and carrying a bag of documents, Lebedev entered court and began talking to his defense lawyer.

Lebedev and former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, were sentenced to eight years in 2005 on charges of tax evasion and embezzlement. At the end of 2010 they received another six years in a second trial for stealing 200 million tons of oil land laundering the proceeds.

Their second sentence was reduced by one year on appeal on  May 24 by a Moscow court, and both men are due for release in 2016.

Lebedev was sent to Velsk in Archangelsk Region to serve out the rest of his sentence after the May hearing.

They are eligible to apply for parole having served half their total 14 year sentences.

Both men deny the charges and maintain that the case was politically motivated due to Khodorkovsky’s sponsorship of opposition parties against the then President Vladimir Putin. The Russian government maintains the case was purely criminal and had no political motivation.

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