Mikhail Khodorkovsky calls for repeal of sentence

Mikhail Khodorkovsky 

The 47-year-old Khodorkovsky was once Russia’s richest man and seen as a political threat to Vladimir Putin.
Jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky lashed out at the government during a court hearing on 24 May, saying its claims he stole millions of tons of oil were “completely absurd.” Khodorkovsky made the statement during a hearing in a Moscow city court. He is challenging his conviction on fraud and tax evasion charges.

If the 2010 conviction is allowed to stand, Khodorkovsky is set to remain in prison until 2017.

The government case against him - that he stole more than 218 million tons of oil from state-owned oil fields and then conspired to conceal the theft - was full of factual errors, he said. “There are enough contradictions to justify dismissing the case for lack of evidence,” Interfax quoted him as saying. Khodorkovsky, 47, headed the YUKO oil company before his arrest in 2003.  He was convicted in 2005 for buying state-owned oil at subsidized prices and reselling it at higher cost internationally. He was sentenced to eight years in prison. New charges were filed against him in 2007, for which he was found guilty last year.

“My fate is not decided in court,” Khodorkovsky said, alluding to the political nature of the case against him.

Platon Lebedev, a Khodorkovsky associate sentenced in 2010 on similar charges, was appealing his conviction during the same Moscow court hearing.