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Russian prosecutors insist Khodorkovsky charges not politically motivated

[JURIST] Russian prosecutors said Friday their case against former Yukos [corporate website] CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky [defense website; JURIST news archive] and his business partner, Platon Lebedev [defense website], is solely a criminal matter and not politically motivated. A spokesperson for the Prosecutor General’s Office [official website, in Russian] said Khodorkovsky wreaked "serious damage" upon the Russian economy. Last December, Khodorkovsky was transferred to a Siberian remand prison [JURIST report] for refusing to cooperate with authorities until he faced "concrete charges." He claims that his case is a scheme to silence his criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin [official profile].

The prosecution indicted Khodorkovsky and Lebedev Monday on new charges of embezzling and laundering $23-25 billion [JURIST report]. Khodorkovsky has condemned the indictment [JURIST report]. The two men are also accused of embezzling money from Yukos subsidiaries and laundering it through the Open Russia Foundation charity [SourceWatch backgrounder]. RIA Novosti has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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