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Russian Court Reduces Lebedev's Sentence, Clearing Way For 2013 Release

Platon Lebedev looks out from the defendant's box as he attends a court hearing to consider a request for parole in Velsk in Arkhangelsk in July 2011.
A court in Russia has reduced the prison sentence of the business partner of jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

Platon Lebedev had been serving a 13-year sentence for tax evasion and money laundering.

But a court in Russia's northwestern Arkhangelsk region, where Lebedev is serving his prison sentence, ruled on November 1 that the term should be shortened by three years.

The decision means Lebedev is now set to be released in July 2013.

Lebedev was the closest business associate of Khodorkovsky, the former CEO of the Yukos oil giant.

The two men say their prosecution was orchestrated by President Vladimir Putin as punishment for Khodorkovsky's political ambitions and support for the opposition.

Khodorkovsky remains in prison in the Karelia region northwest of Moscow.

He is scheduled to be released in 2016.

Based on reporting by AP, ITAR-TASS, and Interfax