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Russia: Prosecutors Target Another Top Yukos Shareholder

Moscow, 29 October 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's prosecutors have targeted another top shareholder of Yukos, the country's largest oil company. Prosecutors today asked a Siberian court to annul the election of Vasilii Shakhnovskii, who was president of Yukos's main subsidiary before taking a spot on the Federation Council. He would lose immunity from prosecution if a court invalidates his election by a local assembly, which took place 10 days after he was charged with tax evasion.

Yukos chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovskii was arrested on 25 October and held pending investigation into charges of tax evasion and fraud. In July, Yukos major shareholder Platon Lebedev was also arrested and has been charged with theft of state property

Khodorkovskii recently become politically active and funded opposition parties ahead of the December parliamentary elections.

Meanwhile, in Brussels today, the European Commission called on the Russian authorities to follow the principles of law in the case against Khodorkovskii.

Commission Spokesman Diego de Ojeda said that Russia's handling of the Khodorkovskii case could have an impact on the prospects for Russia's discussions with the EU in Rome next week.