Grounds to drop case against sick Russian exec: prosecutor

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A Russian prosecutor said Thursday there were grounds for dropping criminal charges against terminally ill former Yukos executive Vasily Aleksanian.

"In connection with the expiration of the statute of limitations there are grounds to dismiss the criminal case, to stop the criminal prosecution," prosecutor Nikolai Vlasov said during Aleksanian's trial in a Moscow district court.

The court was expected to shortly deliver a ruling on dismissing the charges.

Aleksanian, whose lawyers say is almost blind and suffering from lymphatic cancer and AIDS, is facing embezzlement and money-laundering charges.

A former vice president at Yukos, Aleksanian was arrested in April 2006 amid a legal assault by prosecutors that bankrupted the company and resulted in the imprisonment of its chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

He was released from detention in 2008 after his case evoked sympathy around the world and prompted a human-rights campaign because his lawyers said Russia's prison service had denied him proper treatment for more than a year.

© 2010 AFP

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