On this day, apatite concentrate was mentioned in a verdict

On this day, apatite concentrate was mentioned in a verdict

Lebedev and Khodorkovsky* pushed off products of “Apatit” to controllable foreign firms at understated prices. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on May 23, 2005.

On this day 17 years ago, on May 23, 2005, in the Meschansky District Court of Moscow started the second week of the pronouncement of the verdict against the former head of the oil company NK Yukos, head of the International Financial Association MFO “Menatep” Platon Lebedev, and the former general director of the CJSC “Volna” Andrey Kraynov. They went on trial on accusation of a whole series of crimes in the economic sphere. By the second week of the proceedings, out of 11 episodes imputed to Khodorkovsky and Lebedev in the title of the sentence, 10 had been read out.

Reporters noticed that the court, after the end of the first week of the process’s final stage, corrected the working time and moved to eight hours regime of the “Khodorkovsky’s recitals”.


The accusation on the episode, connected with the acquisition of 25% shares of the JSC “Apatit”, the court nominally phased out, taking into account the expiration of the period of limitation, nevertheless, all the evidential base and the positions of the sides received its assessment. Apart from that, with the JSC “Apatit” was connected another accusation – embezzlement of the earnings from the sales of Apatite concentrate and the damage inflicted to the shareholders of this enterprise, including the state.

(See also the article “On this day, the conviction against Platon Lebedev was enforced by a concentrate”).

According to the version of the prosecution, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, managing, in fact, the JSC “Apatit” from 2000 to 2002, had pushed off products of “Apatit” to controllable by them firms at underestimated prices. Then products had been resold on the world market at prices twice as high as the prime cost of the works.

Thus, pointed out the prosecution, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev received profits to the amount of 6 billion 168 million 43 thousand rubles. As it was mentioned in the materials of the case, the total difference between the value of the products of the JSC “Apatit” at the price cost and the value at the real price of these products sold to customers had remained abroad, on accounts of a Swiss shell-company under control of Lebedev P.L. and Khodorkovsky M.B.


As pointed out by the investigation, behind the shell-company stands “Menatep”. At issue is the company “Apatit Fertilizers S.A.” (account No 0251-654879-22, bank Credit Suisse), that the apatite wheeler-dealers had created in November 1997.

“As of June 2003, in the existing structure of the Mineral group, 50% of the company “Apatit Fertilizers S.A.” belonged to the shareholders’ group of the company “Grup Menatep” (Khodorkovsky, Lebedev, Nevzlin, Dubov, Brudno, Shakhnovsky, Golubovich), and 50% to the shareholders’ group “Phosco Industries”, it was established by the court. “On the whole, Lebedev P.L., by way of acquiring, committed embezzlement to the total amount of 32 527 792.56 U.S. dollars”, held the synopsis of the episode under Article 160 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Misappropriation or Embezzlement, that is, the stealing of other people’s property entrusted to the convicted person).


According to the court, the machination with the prices lead to the lowering of the net profit of “Apatit”, and to its shareholders, including the state, a considerable damage was inflicted, as they didn’t receive the dividends which were due to them. On the basis of documents, presented by the investigation, as well as witnesses’ evidence, the court held this episode as proven. The court established that “the defendants, as part of the criminal group, committed misappropriation of means received as the difference from the real value of apatite concentrate in comparison with what was indicated in documents”.  

The version presented during the proceedings by the defendants, was dismissed by the court, as it didn’t correspond with the circumstances, witnesses’ evidence, and materials of the case, which was regarded by the court as an effort of the defendants to avoid responsibility for what had been done. The bottom line is that the apatite wheeler-dealers Khodorkovsky* and Lebedev, in accordance with Article 160 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, received seven years imprisonment each”.

(See also the previous article “On this day, on account of Yukos denunciation and grease, was arrested the circulation of the journal “Kompromat.ru”. “All the history of the creation of Mr. Khodorkovsky’s empire is a history of impunity and predatory acquiring of state property”. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on May 22, 2003).

*On May 20, 2022, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation included M.B. Khodorkovsky in the list of individuals performing the functions of a foreign agent.

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