Khodorkovsky’s lawyers appeal closure of VNK case

Lawyers of the jailed Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev have filed a supervisory appeal against a court decision to close an outdated case on the theft of shares from the Eastern Oil Company, a court spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

The Eastern Oil Company (VNK) was privatized in a controversial auction in 1997.

“Today the Moscow City Court received a supervisory appeal from the lawyers of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev against a ruling of the Khamovnichesky court and Judge Viktor Danilkin to close proceedings on the stealing of the VMK shares as outdated,” spokeswoman Anna Usachyova said.

Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, and Lebedev are serving a 13-year sentence on charges of tax evasion and stealing oil from the Yukos oil company, which Khodorkovsky ran until his arrest. They are due to be released in 2016.

The two men have denied all charges against them, saying that they were revenge for Khodorkovsky’s funding of opposition parties during the presidency of Vladimir Putin, something the Russian authorities categorically deny.

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