Imprisoned former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has pleaded not guilty to fresh charges of theft and embezzlement at his trial in Moscow.
Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, is already serving an eight year sentence for fraud and tax evasion. His supporters say the charges are part of a Kremlin-driven campaign to punish him for his political ambitions.
This time, the 45-year-old is accused, along with his former business partner, of embezzling more than 19 billion euros in oil from subsidiaries of his Yukos company, and laundering the proceeds.
Meanwhile, parole has been granted to a former Yukos lawyer imprisoned on charges seen by government critics as part of the state campaign against the company.
Svetlana Bakhmina was serving a six and a half year prison term for embezzlement and tax evasion.