The trial of the former leaders of Russia’s biggest oil giant, Yukos, has entered a new stage with co-defendent Platon Lebedev beginning his evidence
Lebedev and his former business partner and Yukos chief, Mikhail Khordorkovsky are accused of stealing cash and oil from the company – charges which carry jail terms of some 20 years.
The pair are already serving eight years for fraud and tax evasion following convictions in 2005.
Khordokovsky has already taken the stand in this behind-closed-doors trial. He and Lebedev deny the charges which many claim are politically motivated. It is thought the Kremlin fears Khordorkovsky may stand for election once released.
Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin has openly said he will do all in his power to keep the oligarch behind bars.