Yukos’ Lebedev Denied Early Release – Again

MOSCOW, December 14 (RIA Novosti) – Parole hearings for jailed Yukos executive Platon Lebedev deteriorated into a legal stalemate on Friday, when Arkhangelsk Region Court ordered a third trial in the case.

The court agreed with prosecutors, who said a lower court that decreased Lebedev’s jail term in November did not take into account Lebedev’s personality, the gravity of his crimes and the size of damages inflicted.

No date for a new trial in the Velsk District Court was set on Friday. Lebedev was set to walk out on parole in next July prior to the new ruling.

Lebedev, jailed since 2003 along with former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, was sentenced in a new case in 2010 to stay behind bars until 2016 on charges of oil embezzlement and money laundering.

The Velsk court slashed the prison term for Lebedev last August, making him set to walk out in March 2013, but the Arkhangelsk Region Court ordered a retrial in September.

The second trial, which ended in November, also slashed the sentence, but this verdict was again overturned by the Arkhangelsk Region Court on Friday.

“There’s an obvious directive to not release Lebedev in the near future,” defense lawyer Alexei Miroshnichenko said, Novaya Gazeta reported from the courtroom. He named no names.

Moscow City Court is set to review next week an appeal by Lebedev and Khodorkovsky contesting their 2010 verdict.

The former Yukos bosses are jailed on economic charges, but they have repeatedly claimed the case was retribution from President Vladimir Putin for Khodorkovsky’s political ambitions. Putin denied the allegations, but has attacked Khodorkovsky in public statements, calling him a “thief” weeks ahead of the 2010 ruling.


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