Russian oligarch Khodorkovsky back in court

On March 3, a former oil tycoon and Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky was in court in Moscow on new charges of embezzlement and money laundering. His lawyers claim that this case tests Russian President’s Dmitry Medvedev reform promises.

Khodorkovsky, the 45-year-old former businessman who had been previously ranked as Russia’s richest man, was jailed in Siberia for tax evasion and fraud. He is said to fall foul of the Kremlin under former President Vladimir Putin and currently is being observed for a milder treatment under Medvedev.

Khodorkovsky’s appearance in court is his 1st time in public in Moscow since 2005.

According to prosecutors, Khodorkovsky helped embezzle USD 25 billion and laundered USD 13.9 billion. If proved guilty, these charges can keep ex-tycoon in jail for 22 years more.

Khodorkovsky’s lawyers claim that he is a political prisoner and the victim of officials who feared his political ambitions and wanted to undermine his YUKOS business empire.

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