A Russian appeals court has upheld a multi-billion-dollar theft and money laundering conviction against jailed former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, though it reduced his 14-year prison sentence by one year.
Western governments have condemned the verdict, saying it raised questions about Russia’s commitment to the rule of law.
The court rejected an appeal by Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, against his Dec. 30 conviction.
Khodorkovsky, 47, and his business partner Platon Lebedev, were initially convicted of fraud and tax evasion in a separate trial in 2005.
The Moscow City Court ruling means former Yukos oil company chief Khodorkovsky, who fell foul of the Kremlin during Vladimir Putin’s presidency and has been jailed since 2003, will remain in prison well into 2016.
One of Khodorkovsky’s lawyers, Karina Moskalenko, called the one-year reduction of the sentence “cosmetic”.
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