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Khodorkovskii's Pretrial Detention Extended

29 January 2005 -- A Moscow court yesterday ordered that former Yukos chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovskii remain in pretrial custody for another three months.

State Prosecutor Dmitrii Shokhin had earlier motivated his request that Khodorkovskii's pretrial detention be extended beyond the 14 February deadline by saying the defendant might escape, or exert pressure on witnesses.

Khodorkovskii faces charges of fraud and tax evasion he denies.

His company, Yukos, has been ordered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in alleged tax arrears.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe this week voted a resolution describing Khodorkovskii's arrest as part of attempts to silence political opponents and regain control of strategic economic assets.

Russian Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov has described the Council of Europe's criticism as "illegitimate."


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