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Prosecutors Say Khodorkovskii Led 'Organized Group'


15 July 2004 -- Prosecutors in a Moscow court today read out an indictment against Mikhail Khodorkovskii, the founder and main shareholder of the Russian oil company Yukos, in which they accused him of leading an "organized criminal group."

The indictment said that Khodorkovskii and his co-defendent Platon Lebedev led an organized criminal group that sought to acquire shares of major Russian companies through a complex fraud scheme during the period of privatization.

Khodorkovskii and Lebedev are charged with seven crimes, including fraud and tax evasion. They each face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Since Khodorkovskii's arrest last October, tax authorities have been seeking almost $7 billion in back taxes from Yukos for 2000 and 2001. The company has offered to pay the money back over the next two years.

(Reuters/AP)
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