Reduced sentence for Khodorkovsky

2012-12-20 20:50
Mikhail Khodorkovsky (Picture: AP)

Mikhail Khodorkovsky (Picture: AP)

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Moscow - A Russian court reduced former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky's jail sentence by two years on Thursday and he could walk free in October 2014, Russian news agencies said.

Khodorkovsky was once Russia's richest man but was jailed on charges of fraud on tax evasion after falling out with President Vladimir Putin.

His website also said he could be released in October 2014 after serving 11 years of a 13-year sentence. Under the ruling, his business partner Platon Lebedev would be released early, in July 2014, it said.

Supporters regard the two men as political prisoners. They have waged court battles for years against their sentences, both in Russia and in the European Court of Human Rights.

In the latest appeal, their lawyers based their cases of changes to Russian criminal law. The defence lawyers said the ruling was timed to coincide with Putin's annual news conference on Thursday.

Khodorkovsky, 49, is one of the tycoons who made fortunes following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. He says he has been prosecuted over business practises that were both legal and widely used.

Yukos was bankrupted and sold off, mainly into state hands, after Khodorkovsky's jailing. Khodorkovsky had appeared to defy calls by Putin for rich businessmen, or oligarchs, not to get involved in politics.

Read more on:    mikhail khodorkovsky  |  vladimir putin  |  russia
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