Russian prosecutors demand milder punishment for Khodorkovsky
Russian prosecutors Friday in a surprise move demanded a milder punishment for jailed billionaire oil tycoon Mikhail Khodrokovsky, seeking only six additional years in prison, dpa reported
Initially prosecutors had initially been demanding a further 15 years in jail for allegedly stealing oil from the country.
But on Monday, prosecutors descreased by one-third the amount of oil which Khodorkovsky, former yead of the oil company Yukos, and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, had allegedly stolen.
The prosecution charged them with stealing 218 million tons of oil, rathern than 350 million tons in the original indictment.
Khodorkovksy and Lebedev have dismissed the allegations as absurd.
Khodorkovsky is currently serving an eight-year jail sentence on tax-evasion charges related to his time at the head of Yukos. That sentence runs out in 2011.
The case has raised an international outcry that Khodorkovsky is in essence facing double jeopardy, since the charges all focus on the same oil. Observers question how he could have stolen the oil that he is meant to have sold at a big profit before underreporting taxes on it.
Khodorkovsky himself has alleged that the new case is purely political and has said he does not expect to be released from prison so long as Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is in office