As the trial of YUKOS’s former head Mikhail Khodorkovsky draws to a close, the prosecutor has asked the court to find him guilty and sentence him to ten years in a prison labour camp.The case has lasted nine months. Khodorkovsky and with his business partner Platon Lebedev were accused of tax evasion and fraud. Khodorkovsky had repeatedly denied his guilt on any charges and noted that, under the law of the time, the deals which led to his arrest were not illegal. The criminal case against Khodorkovsky and huge tax demands for the oil company YUKOS are widely seen as the Kremlin’s punishment for the billionaire’s funding of opposition politicians. YUKOS, which was once Russia’s largest oil producer, is now a shadow of its former self. It continues to face legal action, the state oil firm Rosneft is demanding over 10 billion euros to cover taxes which are allegedly owed. Khodorkovsky’s lawyers are expected to ask for five working days to prepare a statement. The judge is then likely to adjourn the hearings pending a verdict.
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