Chronology of events in the Khodorkovsky affair
Following is a chronology of key events leading up to the arrest of jailed Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, his trials and detentions.
Khodorkovsky accuses Russia's political elite of having sent money abroad ahead of the devaluation of the ruble and Russia's debt default in August 1998.
Vladimir Putin, then interim president, vows to end the influence of Russia's powerful oligarchs if elected president. After his election, Putin meets with Russia's top business leaders after they raise concerns over numerous legal and fiscal actions taken against the oligarchs.
Khodorkovsky, who has voiced political ambitions and financed the opposition, raises the issue of corruption in Russia during a meeting in the Kremlin with Putin. The president in turn interrogates Khodorkovsky about his tax payments.
In July, one of Khodorkovsky's close associates, Platon Lebedev, is arrested and in October Khodorkovsky himself is detained on charges of fraud and tax evasion.
Russian prosecutors freeze the assets of Khodorkovsky's oil company Yukos and announce the sale of Yuganskneftegaz, the company's main production arm, to Russian state oil giant Rosneft.
On June 16, the trial of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev begins in Moscow.
On May 31, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev are found guilty and sentenced to nine years in labour camps, sentences that are later reduced to eight years. Khodorkovsky declares: "My sentence was decided in the Kremlin."
On October 20, Khodorkovsky begins serving his sentence in a camp in the Chita region, 6,500 kilometres (4,000 miles) east of Moscow.
A Moscow court announces the liquidation of Yukos over a tax debt of 27 billion dollars (19 billion euros).
Prosecutors announce new charges of money laundering and embezzlement against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev.
Khodorkovsky begins a hunger strike in solidarity with his former lawyer and Yukos vice-president Vasily Aleksanyan, who is also imprisoned and suffering from AIDS.
Russia's new president Dmitry Medvedev rejects an appeal from Germany on Khodorkovsky's behalf. Two requests for his early release are also rejected.
On March 3, the second trial against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev begins with both pleading not guilty.
On October 22, Moscow prosecutors demand 14-year sentences for Khodorkovsky and Lebedev.
On November 2, the Moscow judge said he would begin reading the verdict on December 15.
© 2010 AFP