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Russia: Yukos Chief In Moscow For Questioning

Moscow, 25 October 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's Prosecutor-General's Office in Moscow says that Mikhail Khodorkovskii (pictured), head of the country's biggest oil company, was today detained because he failed to appear for questioning. The prosecutors said in a statement that since Khodorkovskii "demonstrably ignored" the summons, the investigators decided to bring him in "by force."

Aleksandr Shadrin, a spokesman for Yukos oil company, said the statement was "a lie." Shadrin said the Prosecutor-General's Office had been informed that Khodorkovskii was away on a business trip and would appear after his return.

Meanwhile, Khodorkovskii, who was detained earlier today at the airport of the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, was brought back to Moscow for questioning in a probe targeting Yukos business operations.

A spokeswoman for the Prosecutor-General's Office said that "so far no action is taking place" because the prosecutors are trying to summon Khodorkovskii's lawyers.