Saturday, 22 May 2010

Putin won’t be taking the stand in Khodorkovsky case

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will not be called on to testify at the second Mihkail Khodorkovsky trial.

A hearing at Khamovnichesky court dismissed calls for the PM to be questioned when the former Yukos chief faces theft and embezzlement charges later this summer.

Requests to put Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin and Deputy PM Igor Sechin on the stand were also turned down, though Minister of Trade and Industry Viktor Khristenko and Sberbank chief German Gref are set to appear on June 21 and 22.

Meanwhile Khodorkovsky is expected to end his hunger strike today after being informed that President Dmitry Medvedev had been made aware of his latest appeal against his pre-trial detention, RIA Novosti reports.

The former oil-tycoon sent an open letter to Supreme Court head Vyacheslav Lebedev on Monday, announcing the strike and demanding that President Dmitry Medvedev be informed that a presidential order was deliberately breached when Khodorkovsky and co-defendant Platon Lebedev were remanded in custody until August 17.

Since then, President Medvedev has been notified, and his press secretary confimed that he was made aware of Khodorkovsky’s plea, while judge Lebedev has pledged to review the case.

Khodorkovsky insists that “the presidential will has been ignored” since the pair are charged with economic offences – something which Medvedev had decreed should not lead to pre-trial custody.

The former Yukos chief is currently serving an eight-year sentence for fraud and tax evasion, and is now accused of stealing $9.6 billion from Yukos funds, along with 350 million tons of oil.

No comments: