7 Jun 2019 13:52

Third Yukos case being investigated - Chaika

ST. PETERSBURG. June 7 (Interfax) - The third criminal case regarding the former Yukos oil company of Mikhail Khodorkovsky is being investigated, according to Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika.

"The third Yukos case is being investigated. This is true," Chaika told the press on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

"Documents of Chevron, which carried out the audit, have been published for the first time," he said.

It was reported in March 2016 that the Russian Investigative Committee's Main Investigative Directorate had opened a criminal case against former principal shareholders and managers of Yukos on counts of embezzling and selling crude of Yukos' subsidiaries, embezzling corporate stock and equity, and laundering money. Some of the defendants were wanted.

The Russian prosecutor general's advisor Salavat Karimov later said that Yukos owners had siphoned $51 billion rubles off Russia.

The Yukos case began in June 2003 with the detention of Menatep CEO and Yukos co-owner Platon Lebedev. Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested four months later.

Both were sentenced to nine years in prison in May 2005 on counts of fraud and tax evasion; however, the Moscow City Court later reduced the sentences to eight years.

The second Yukos case resulted in 14-year sentences for the former Yukos managers, who were convicted of oil embezzlement and money laundering. The ruling was reviewed by several courts, and the prison terms were reduced. Khodorkovsky was due to have fully served his sentence in August 2014.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said following his annual press conference on December 19, 2013, that Khodorkovsky had filed for pardon. The pardon was granted the following day, and Khodorkovsky left for Germany by private plane the same day.

The Russian Investigative Committee said in 2016 that Khodorkovsky had not bought the company but used shell firms and breached competition and anti-monopoly laws to steal it.

Proof of Yukos' illegal privatization presumably makes the Hague Tribunal's ruling, which compelled Russia to pay $50 billion to former Yukos shareholders, null and void.