Moscow court upholds Khodorkovsky parole rejection

Moscow City Court turned down on Thursday an appeal against a lower court’s decision to uphold ex-tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s second conviction for fraud.

In May, Moscow’s Preobrazhensky district court rejected Khodorkovsky’s request for early release but cut his 14-year sentence by one year, making once Russia’s richest man not eligible for release until 2016.

“The decisions by the Preobrazhensky court concerning the appeals and complaints of the defendant are valid and well-grounded,” Moscow City Court Judge Yevgeniya Kolyshnitsyna said on Thursday. “We have found no violations.”

Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev were jailed in 2005 for money laundering. In December, they were sentenced to another six years on additional charges. Both men deny all the allegations against them and Khodorkovsky says the charges were the result of a political vendetta by the Kremlin in revenge for his financing of opposition groups.

The Russian authorities have denied the claims, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said last year “a thief belongs in jail.”

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