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Russia: Court Sends Yukos Head Khodorkovskii To Prison

Moscow, 25 October 2003 (RFE/RL) -- A Moscow court today ordered the detention of Mikhail Khodorkovskii (pictured), the head of Yukos, one of Russia's largest oil producers. Khodorkovskii was charged earlier today with fraud and tax evasion hours after special forces seized him at a Siberian airport and brought him to Moscow.

Yukos today said in a statement that the fraud and tax evasion charges against Khodorkovskii are "absurd."

Prosecutors said Khodorkovskii had to be brought to Moscow "by force" after he ignored their summons to appear for questioning. They requested that he be held in prison.

Prosecutors have been investigating Yukos for months for alleged tax fraud. Several executives of Yukos and associated companies have already been detained.

Some analysts say the investigation of Yukos is a Kremlin-directed campaign to keep Khodorkovskii out of politics ahead of the 7 December parliamentary election.