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Russian Whistle-Blower Denied Parole

TULA, Russia -- An ex-employee of Russia's state property agency who was punished after saying that the authorities fraudulently sold a stake in the oil giant Yukos has had his parole request turned down, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The Tula Oblast parole commission on November 8 rejected a request by Maksim Dudarev, a former member of the ruling United Russia party, for early release from prison.

Dudarev alleged in an interview with RFE/RL on October 11 that the 2004 auction of Yukos was neither open to all bidders nor competitive.

He said it was instead used as a vehicle to transfer ownership of a stake in a key Yukos subsidiary to a state company.

Dudarev, 30, was placed in solitary confinement immediately after the interview.

Dudarev is a former aide to United Russia Chairman Boris Gryzlov and a former employee of Rosgosimushchestvo, the state property agency.

He was found guilty of fraud in 2009 and given a seven-year prison term that he is serving in a labor camp in the western Tula Oblast.

Yana Bakaryukina, an aide to the chairman of Tula's Central District court, told RFE/RL that Judge Irina Krivolapova ruled that Dudarev's request for early release on parole cannot be granted.

Bakaryukina said the text of the ruling would be posted on the Internet on November 18, after which Dudarev has 10 days to appeal it.

The administration of the labor camp where Dudarev is serving his sentence declined to comment on the judge's decision and refused to provide the written evaluation of Dudarev's character and behavior that was submitted to the parole commission.

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