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Yukos Lawyer Convicted Of Embezzlement

April 19, 2006 -- A Moscow court today found a lawyer for the Yukos oil company guilty of embezzling nearly 8 billion rubles ($290 million) and of tax evasion.

The court ruled Bakhmina guilty of embezzlement and tax evasion for stripping assets from Tomskneft, a major Yukos subsidiary.

Svetlana Bakhmina, who was arrested in December 2004, denies any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors are demanding a nine-year prison sentence.

Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his associate Platon Lebedev are currently serving eight-year prison sentences for fraud and tax evasion.

Critics say the trials against Yukos officials and tax claims worth billions of dollars against the oil company are part of a campaign by the Kremlin to punish Khodorkovsky for his political ambitions and tighten the state's control over the oil industry.

(Interfax, ITAR-TASS, AP)