Khodorkovsky gets further six years


A judge has sentenced Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky to a further six years in prison (AP)

Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been sentenced to a further six years in prison following a trial seen as payback for his defiance of Vladimir Putin’s power.

Judge Viktor Danilkin sentenced Khodorkovsky to fourteen years after convicting him of stealing oil from his own company and laundering the proceeds.

The new sentence is counted from his 2003 arrest and includes his previous term in jail.

Khodorkovsky is in the final year of an eight-year prison sentence.

Following his 20-month second trial, the judge convicted Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev on charges of stealing around $27 billion worth of the oil that his Yukos company produced from 1998 to 2003 and laundering the proceeds.

Defence lawyers said much of the judge’s verdict was copied from the indictment and the prosecutors’ final arguments. They called the charges ridiculous, saying they reflected a lack of understanding of the oil business, including the payment of transit fees and export duties.

The judge also sentenced Lebedev to fourteen years.

Prime minister Putin is seen as the driving force behind the trial of Khodorkovsky, who challenged him during his presidency.

Putin, eyeing a return to the presidency in 2012, appears unwilling to risk the possibility that a freed Khodorkovsky could help lead his political foes.

The Russian Foreign Ministry has dismissed Western criticism of the trial as unacceptable pressure.

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