Russian Prosecutor General appeals against the Khodorkovsky “case” being heard in Moscow
On 22 March the Prosecutor General lodged an appeal against the ruling by the Basmanny Court which on 20 March ordered that the pre-trial investigation into the new criminal charges brought against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev be held in Moscow where the activities the men are charged with allegedly took place, and not in Chita where they are presently imprisoned. .
The court ruling states that transferring the criminal investigation to Chita is a violation of the constitutional right to defence.
Now, until the appeal is reviewed, the Basmanny Court ruling cannot enter into force.
On 20 March, Khodorkovskys lawyer, Yury Schmidt, said that he believed an appeal was improbable. In his words: “This ruling is superbly justified. I simply cant imagine what theyd clutch at in order to appeal it”.
As already reported here, the new charges against the ex-head of YUKOS Mikhail Khodorkovsky and director of MENATEP Platon Lebedev, who are serving long sentences for non-payment of taxes and fraud, allege that they embezzled oil to the tune of 850 billion roubles.
The mens defence lawyers say that the charges are absurd and insane. Yury Schmidt says that the amounts cited by the Prosecutor constitute the full profit of the company and adds that “nobody could ever steal such an amount anywhere”.