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Jailed Former CEO Accuses Kremlin Of Stealing Yukos

Jailed former Yukos head Khodorkovskii (file photo) 28 December 2004 -- Jailed former Yukos chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovskii has accused the Kremlin of stealing his oil company by manipulating Russian law.

In a letter from prison published today in the Russian daily "Vedomosti," Khodorkovskii said the sale of Yukos subsidiary Yganskneftegaz "was the most senseless and destructive event in the economic sphere since President Vladimir Putin has taken the helm."

The subsidiary, which produced 60 percent of Yukos's output, was auctioned to a company registered in a provincial Russian town. The state-owned Rosneft oil concern then purchased that company.

Khodorkovskii accused the state of trampling legal norms to wrest Yukos from its owners.

Khodorkovskii also assailed what he called Putin's authoritarian controls and warned they would ruin the country.

Khodorkovskii, once the richest man in Russia, has been in jail for more than 14 months to face trial on fraud and tax-evasion charges.

In the letter, he dismisses the charges.


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