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European Observer In Russia For Khodorkovskii Trial

Mikhail Khodorkovskii (file photo) 24 May 2004 -- A senior European representative arrived in Moscow today to act as an observer of this week's trial of Russia's richest man, Mikhail Khodorkovskii.

Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger was appointed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to monitor the trial.

Khodorkovskii, the founder of Russia's biggest oil producer, Yukos, was arrested at gunpoint by masked security men on 25 October while traveling in Siberia.

He has been charged with massive fraud and tax evasion.

His supporters say Khodorkovskii was targeted because he financed parties opposed to Putin ahead of the December parliamentary and March presidential elections.

He was estimated recently by "Forbes" magazine to be worth $15.2 billion.


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