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Khodorkovskii To Speak At His Trial

Mikhail Khodorkovskii (file photo) 11 April 2005 -- The former boss of Russian oil giant Yukos, Mikhail Khodorkovskii, is due to speak in a Moscow court for the final time today as his trial comes to a close.

Khodorkovskii and his business partner Platon Lebedev are facing charges of fraud, embezzlement, and tax evasion. They could be jailed to up to 10 years in jail if found guilty.

Last week, their lawyers wrapped up closing arguments in the 10-month trial.

Many analysts say the Kremlin initiated the case against Khodorkovskii to punish him for financing opposition political parties ahead of parliamentary elections in 2003.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly denied this, saying Russian tax authorities were merely cracking down on a tax cheat.


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