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Imprisoned Former Yukos Security Chief Files Clemency Bid

Aleksei Pichugin appears in a Moscow courtroom in April 2008.

Officials in Russia's Orenburg region say they are looking into a request for clemency filed by the former security chief of the now-defunct Yukos oil company, Aleksei Pichugin.

In July 13 statement, the regional administration said Pichugin's request was under consideration by a special commission which, if it approves the request, would send it to federal agencies for consideration.

It is not clear for how long the procedure might last.

Pichugin's lawyer, Ksenia Kostromina, said earlier that her client had filed a new petition for pardon.

Pichugin is serving a life sentence for allegedly organizing killings of businessmen who threatened Yukos, as well as that of a Russian mayor. He maintains his innocence.

Yukos was once Russia's largest company. It was dismantled after the 2003 arrest of its CEO, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was later convicted and imprisoned on charges of fraud, tax evasion, and embezzlement in a case his supporters say was aimed at thwarting his political ambitions.

Khodorkovsky spent 10 years in prison and was pardoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2013.

Pichugin's previous petition for clemency was declined by Putin last year.

On July 13, the head of the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council, Mikhail Fedotov, urged the Orenburg regional governor to support Pichugin's pardon request.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax