Former Russian Judge Called In for Questioning Over Yukos

MOSCOW, June 24 (RIA Novosti) – Russian investigators are planning to interview a former Constitutional Court judge and presidential human rights council member over the so-called second case against former oil giant Yukos, which has recently been making headlines in the global media.

Weeks after prominent economist Sergei Guriev fled Russia, fearing arrest for his work on a report last year that heavily criticized the jailing of former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the prominent legal expert who helped select the report’s authors has herself been called in for questioning.

Tamara Morshchakova, a law scholar and former Constitution Court judge, said Monday that she had received a call from the investigators looking into the independent report, which scrutinized one of the most high-profile cases in modern Russia.

“Apparently, the meeting [with an investigator] will be on Thursday,” Morshchakova told the RAPSI legal news agency on Monday. She did not reveal the name of the caller, only saying it was the man in charge of questioning experts of the report.

The Investigative Committee was not available to comment immediately after regular working hours on Monday evening.

The report was commissioned by then-President Dmitry Medvedev’s Human Rights Council to examine the trial of the oil magnate Khodorkovsky and his business partner, Platon Lebedev. Nine experts, including three foreigners, worked – for free – on the report, coming to similarly critical verdicts, without any contact with one another.

In late 2010, a Moscow district court sentenced Khodorkovsky and Lebedev to 14 years in prison for stealing oil and laundering money as part of a second case, seen by many observers as politically motivated.

Five of the six Russian experts have since been questioned by investigators or had equipment and documents confiscated, Morshchakova earlier told RIA Novosti.

Guriev, who was questioned over the report in February, fled Russia for France in late April, leaving his post as the head of the New Economic School.

As a former judge Morshchakova, who coordinated the compilation of the report, possesses immunity from prosecution.


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