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Ex-Yukos Official Convicted Of Involvement In Murders

Aleksei Pichugin appearing today at the Moscow City Court (ITAR-TASS) August 6, 2007 -- Aleksei Pichugin, a former top security official at Russia's Yukos oil company, has been convicted by a Russian court and sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of involvement in several murders and attempted murders.

Pichugin was already sentenced to 24 years in prison on similar charges, but Russia's highest court ordered a retrial as prosecutors appealed for a life sentence.

Pichugin has insisted that he is innocent. His arrest in 2003 marked the launch of the government's politically charged campaign against Yukos and its founder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is serving an eight-year jail term for fraud and tax evasion.

Yukos, once Russia's biggest oil producer, was hit in 2004 with back-tax claims of billions of dollars. It has since gone bankrupt and had its assets sold mainly to state-owned companies.


RFE/RL Russia Report

RFE/RL Russia Report

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