Thursday, December 30, 2010

Moscow - Russian Oil Tycoon Sentenced to 13.5 Years

Moscow, Russia - A judge has sentenced jailed Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky to 13.5 years in prison following a trial seen as payback for his defiance of Vladimir Putin’s power.

Judge Viktor Danilkin on Thursday handed down the sentence after convicting Mr. Khodorkovsky of stealing oil from his own company and laundering the proceeds.

Mr. Khodorkovsky who is Jewish, is in the final year of an eight-year prison sentence. His lawyers say the new sentence is counted from his 2003 arrest and includes his previous term in jail.

Mr. Putin is seen as the driving force behind the trial of Khodorkovsky, who challenged him during his presidency.

Mr. Putin, eyeing a return to the presidency in 2012, appears unwilling to risk the possibility that a freed Mr. Khodorkovsky could help lead his political foes.

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