Russian Court Denies Lebedev Parole Request

Posted July 27th, 2011 at 3:15 pm (UTC-5)
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A Russian court has rejected the parole request of Platon Lebedev, the business partner of jailed former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Judge Nikolai Raspopov handed down the decision Wednesday in a court in the northwestern town of Velsk. The ruling means Lebedev, jailed since 2003, will remain in prison until the end of his sentence in 2016.

A parole request from Khodorkovsky was denied in June by a Russian court, which said he did not supply the proper documents.

Khodorkovsky and Lebedev built Yukos into Russia's largest oil company. The Kremlin seized Yukos when the two men were charged with tax evasion and fraud in 2005. Russian officials broke up the company and sold off its pieces to settle what they say was Khodorkovsky's tax bill.

Khodorkovsky and Lebedev had been serving time for tax evasion and fraud when they were given additional sentences last December for money laundering and stealing oil from their own company. But the sentence was reduced by one year on appeal.

Supporters say the charges are politically motivated because Khodorkovsky, once one of Russia's richest citizens, supports politicians opposed to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.