Former Yukos CEO Khodorkovsky gets 14 years


(JTA) — Former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for his conviction for embezzlement and theft.

Thursday’s sentence in Moscow consigns the former head of the Yukos oil company and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, to imprisonment until 2017. The men are currently serving eight-year prison sentences on charges of tax evasion and fraud. They have been in prison since their arrests in 2003.

The judge said during sentencing that Khodorkovsky could be reformed only through “isolation from society,” according to a The New York Times report. The overall 14-year sentence is the maximum penalty that can be imposed for the crime.

The men’s most recent trial began in March 2009. They were accused of stealing billions of dollars’ worth of oil from Yukos production subsidiaries from 1998 to 2003.
Khodorkovsky, who is Jewish, was formerly the richest man in Russia.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said earlier this month that Khodorkovsky "should sit in jail" — a comment that has been seen by some as interference in the trial. Putin was the nation’s president during the first trial. Khodorkovsky, a major opponent of the Kremlin, had plans to run for the presidency himself, according to reports. Putin has expressed an interest in running for president again in 2012.

Charges ranging from tax fraud to murder are facing other former Yukos officials, including Leonid Nevzlin, who fled to Israel to avoid the charges.

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