Russia examining more cases against Khodorkovsky: official

6th December 2013, Comments 0 comments

Russia is still looking at several criminal cases against former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who has been imprisoned since 2003 and is set to go free next year, an official said Friday.

Deputy general prosecutor Alexander Zvyagintsev told the Interfax news agency in an interview that Khodorkovsky was unlikely to benefit from a planned presidential amnesty this year.

"There are several criminal cases under investigation involving him and several other people, which have a good chance of making it to trial," said Zvyagintsev, Interfax reported.

Zvyagintsev appeared to indicate that it was highly unlikely that Khodorkovsky, who has been convicted of tax evasion and embezzlement in two highly controversial trials, will have a chance for the amnesty now mooted in the Kremlin.

"Khodorkovsky has been convicted and is serving a sentence according to a court verdict for especially heavy crimes, done in an organised group. You make your conclusions from that," he said.

He gave no indications on the nature of the other cases. Usually, the opening of criminal cases over serious crimes is announced by Russia's Investigative Committee, its equivalent of the FBI.

Once Russia's richest man, 50-year-old Khodorkovsky was arrested in October 2003 and convicted of fraud and tax evasion two years later. A second trial ended in 2010 with an embezzlement conviction.

He is due to be released in August 2014.

Human rights activists had hoped that the amnesty, set to be announced on December 12, will release people charged or convicted of non-violent crimes and seen as political prisoners.

President Vladimir Putin said this week that the amnesty would not include people who committed "serious crimes".

© 2013 AFP

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