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22 Oct, 2010 15:17

Prosecution demands 14 years for Mikhail Khodorkovsky

The prosecution has demanded 14 years each in custody for former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his former business partner Platon Lebedev.

The two are accused of theft and money laundering with an estimated damage standing at over US$27 billion. The accused are supposed to serve their sentence in general regime colony.

Defense attorneys said they hold a negative attitude towards the proposed punishment. The next round in the hearings is scheduled for October 27.

According to prosecutors, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev are guilty of embezzling 218 million tons of oil from Yukos’ subsidiary companies. An earlier-quoted figure of 350 million tons has proven to be inaccurate.

The prosecution has also asked the court to drop the charge of Eastern Oil Company (VNK) stock embezzlement due to the end of the statute of limitations.

The accused reiterated that their trial is unfair. One of the defense attorneys, Konstantin Rivkin, told journalists that his clients “have drawn attention to the fact that the aim of the criminal action does not lie in the sphere of law."

Prosecution has dismissed the claims of politicization of the case citing the previous sentence.

"The position of all those who try to play down the gravity of the crimes committed by Khodorkovsky and Lebedev does not meet the interests of the state," prosecutor Valery Lakhtin was quoted by Interfax as saying.

Lakhtin added that the prosecution did not have any prejudice with regard to the defendants. "Our entire attitude was based on collected evidence," he said.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his former business partner Platon Lebedev are already serving their first eight-year prison term, which they received in 2005 on charges of fraud and tax evasion.