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Former Chief Of Yukos Branch Jailed For Embezzlement

Yukos was Russia's largest oil company before being forced into bankruptcy.
MOSCOW -- The former director of a branch of the Russian energy giant Yukos has been sentenced to 12 years in jail for embezzlement, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

A Moscow court found Sergei Shimkevich, the former director of TomskNeft, guilty of embezzling millions of dollars.

Two of Shimkevich's former associates, Oleg Klyucherev and Oleg Kolyada, were sentenced to 8 1/2 and 7 1/2 years in prison, respectively.

Shimkevich, 51, was arrested in January 2007 and has been held in detention since then. His lawyers have sought several times to have him released due to his poor health.

Yukos, once Russia's largest oil company, declared bankruptcy in 2006 after a multibillion tax claim that critics say was politically motivated.

Its former head, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is in jail for tax evasion and fraud.