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Khodorkovsky Associate Jumps Bail

January 16, 2007 -- Russian Prosecutor-General Yury Chaika confirmed today that a man indicted in a Yukos-related court case has escaped while on trial for fraud.

Russian authorities had put Antonio Valdes Garcia, who was on bail during his trial, under police guard, but he managed to slip away.

Valdes Garcia, a dual Russian-Spanish citizen, was a former general manager of a Yukos-affiliated trading company. He was charged as an accomplice, with jailed Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky and others, in the alleged embezzlement of $13 billion.

Chaika denied Valdes Garcia was a key witness in Yukos-related court cases.

The prosecutor-general also said today that new money-laundering charges will be filed against former executives of the bankrupt oil company, including Khodorkovsky.

Khodorkovsky is serving an eight-year prison term for fraud and tax evasion. His conviction and the state-run attack on Yukos were widely seen as politically motivated.

(Reuters, ITAR-TASS)