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Khodorkovsky Partner Charged With Tax Evasion


Former Yukos oil company chief executive officer Mikhail Khodorkovsky stands behind a glass wall at a courtroom in Moscow, 29Dec2010

Former Yukos oil company chief executive officer Mikhail Khodorkovsky stands behind a glass wall at a courtroom in Moscow, 29Dec2010

Russian prosecutors have charged a fugitive partner of jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky with tax evasion.

Aleksei Spirichev headed two companies affiliated with Khodorkovsky's Yukos oil firm.

He fled Russia after Khodorkovsky's 2003 arrest and now lives in London.

The Russian Prosecutor-General's Office said his companies were "fictitious" and had earned more than $300 million by evading taxes and receiving illegal tax returns between 1998 and 2001.

Spirichev's lawyer, Vadim Kluvgant, said the charges were part of what he called "a big fake case" against Yukos.

Khodorkovsky has been convicted of tax evasion and embezzlement and is set to remain in prison until 2017.

His case is widely seen as Kremlin punishment for his funding of opposition parties.

Based on reporting by AP and Interfax
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