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Khodorkovsky Begins Defense In Final Arguments In Fraud Trial

Former Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky in a Moscow courtroom on October 27
Russia's former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has begun delivering his final arguments in his second trial, urging the court to reject a 14-year sentence sought by prosecutors for alleged fraud and embezzlement.

Khodorkovsky was Russia's richest man when he was arrested in 2003 on charges of tax evasion by his now defunct oil company, Yukos.

Observers considered the charges to be a politically motivated punishment for challenging then-President Vladimir Putin.

Khodorkovsky's eight-year prison sentence is a year from completion, but a second series of fraud and embezzlement charges could keep him incarcerated until 2017.

Prosecutors last week requested the 14-year sentence, which according to lawyers would include time already served.

compiled from agency reports