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15 Feb, 2008 19:41

Yukos ex-VP accused of organising murders

Russia’s Prosecutor General's Office has accused Leonid Nevzlin, a former senior official at Yukos Oil, of being behind a number of contract killings and attempted murders. The case has been sent to a Moscow court.

The charges date back to the 1990s, with prosecutors alleging people who got in the way of the oil giant’s interests were targeted.

A spokesperson for the Prosecutor General's Office, Tatyana Chernysheva, outlined the allegations.

“In the period between 1998 and 2002 we allege members of an organised group under Nevzlin's instruction killed Valentina Korneyeva, the head of Phoenix, and Vladimir Petukhov, former mayor of the Siberian oil town of Nefteyugansk. They're also thought to be behind several attempted murders in 2004.

Some of the gang members have been arrested and an international warrant issued for Nevzlin who is the object of repeated extradition requests,” Chernysheva said.

Once Russia's main oil giant, Yukos went bust after being hit with a multi-million dollar tax bill.

Nevzlin who is living in exile in Israel denies the charges saying they are politically motivated.