Khodorkovsky's guilt proven: prosecution

14th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russian prosecutors claimed Thursday to have proven the guilt of jailed oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky as they began their closing arguments, more than 18 months into his second trial for financial crimes.

"An analysis of the sum of the evidence shows that the charges against the accused have been proven," prosecutor Gulchekhra Ibragimova told the Khamovnichesky district court in Moscow at the start of her summing up.

Dressed casually in a jumper and jeans, Khodororkovsky, the former head of Yukos oil company and once Russia's richest man, took notes as he sat in a bullet-proof glass enclosure beside his co-accused, Platon Lebedev.

Prosecutor Ibragimova said the reading of the prosecution's final arguments would take around a week.

After the prosecutor listed the crimes allegedly committed by the two men, the defence lawyers exclaimed "So what?", prompting laughter in the public area of the Khamovnichesky district court in Moscow.

Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were jailed for eight years in 2005 on charges of fraud and tax evasion that their supporters argue were trumped up to punish the tycoon for daring to finance opposition parties.

The two men went on trial again on March 3 last year on fresh charges of embezzling millions of tons of oil and money laundering that could see them jailed for another two decades.

© 2010 AFP

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