Lawyers defending Khodorkovsky and Lebedev slam political charges
Statement released on 21 February: The General Procuracy did not find evidence of Khodorkovskys and Lebedevs guilt; it simply declared all of their activity criminal
On 16 February 2007, the General Procuracy of the Russian Federation published the fantasy charges filed against Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev on its website. Like our clients, we on the defence team are interested in seeing the consideration of these charges in as public a manner as possible. At the same time, the investigative organs have undertaken numerous attempts to silence defence counsel, requiring them to sign non-disclosure statements to maintain the secrecy of the investigation. In connection with this, we are doubly grateful to the General Procuracy, because in publishing the text of the charges, it has greatly simplified our task of proving the innocence of our clients.
We believe that any person, even someone with no legal education, can see for himself the absurdity of the charges being made against Khodokorvky and Lebedev, just by carefully reading this document. These charges are so ludicrous that nobody can be left with any doubt about the political nature of the claims against our clients.
We do not consider it necessary to subject the charges to a detailed analysis or to refute each and every sentence of this document. That would be simply impossible to do, inasmuch as the document simply does not contain any charges. What the General Procuracy has provided is the professional biographies of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev, merely replacing the words “company management” with “organized criminal group”, “transaction” with “theft”, and “financial report” with “spurious documents”.
The absurdity of the charges can be seen most vividly from the following example: According to the procuracy, in the years 1998-2003, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev allegedly “stole” 347 million metric tons of crude oil valued at 1 trillion 304 billion rubles. At the average exchange rate of 29 rubles per dollar for this period, this comes to approximately 45 billion dollars. At the same time, the gross earnings of the company YUKOS for this same period comprised 47.1 billion dollars!
It is not by accident that the sum of the “theft” nearly coincides with the companys total earnings. The General Procuracy did not find evidence of Khodorkovskys and Lebedevs guilt; it simply declared all of their activity criminal. It is obvious that the investigative organs had been given an assignment to come up with charges, and, not having found real crimes, they incriminated imaginary ones.
We once again call on society to notice the blatantly political nature of the persecution of our clients. We assert that Khodorkovsky and Lebedev are innocent. Any objectively-thinking person can convince himself of this by impartially studying the materials of the charges so graciously provided by the investigation.
20 February 2007