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Khodorkovskii Sentenced To Nine Years In Prison

Moscow, 31 May 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A Moscow court today sentenced oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovskii to nine years in prison after finding him guilty on six out of seven charges in his trial on fraud and tax evasion.

His business partner, Platon Lebedev, was also found guilty and sentenced to nine years in prison. State prosecutors had demanded the maximum 10-year prison sentence for both men.

The third defendant in the case, Andrei Krainov, was given a five-and-a-half year sentence. Today's final verdict came at the end of an 11-month trial.

Khodorkovskii, the former head of the Yukos oil company, has already spent more than a year-and-a-half in jail, which will count against his prison term.

Khodorkovskii's supporters say the trial was a Kremlin-inspired campaign to punish him for funding opposition parties and to stifle his own political ambitions.

(RFE/RL's Russian Service/AP/Reuters)