“An organized group made up of Khodorkovsky, Shakhnovsky, Brudno, Lebedev, and others…” Subsidiaries of the Oil company Yukos were stripped of $11 billion. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on April 29, 2005.
On this day 18 years ago, on April 29, 2005, a technical pause caused by the shifting of the pronouncement of the verdict against Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev on the first criminal case, was being filled with certain details of a new criminal case. Its materials gave all reasons to assume that against the head of Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky and former head of the International Financial Association MFO “Menatep” new chargers would be brought under Article 160, paragraph 3, of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Embezzlement) and under Article 174.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Legalization (Laundering) of monetary funds and other property).
Genrikh Padva, a lawyer of Khodorkovsky, avoided specific things while commenting a possibility of a second case. “We were only informed that a case has been filed on legalization (laundering) of illegally acquired property. The Prosecution has not notified us of any other case”, said the maestro. The defense knows that the Prosecution has been conducting active investigative actions, “and one has an impression that there is a danger of filing another case, but it’s still only an impression”.
The alarming impression of the lawyer was not nearly taken out of thin air. First, Khodorkovsky’s lawyers were notified about such a case. Second, some details of the criminal case No 18325531-04, started by the Office of the Prosecutor General of Russia as early as on October 6, were opened slightly by the newspaper “Izvestiya”, who had discovered “new details of the criminal case, within the framework of which new charges could be brought against Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev”.
YUKOS SUBSIDIARIES WERE STRIPPED OF $11 BILLION
The new case with number 18325531-04 was filed by the Office of the Prosecutor General under two Articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Embezzlement” and “Legalizing of monetary funds”). The case was filed against Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Vasily Shakhnovsky, Mikhail Brudno, Mikhail Yelfimov, Antonio Valdez-Garcia, Vladimir Pereverzin, and Andrey Leonovich.
An extract from the case: “In 2002-2003, an organized group consisting of Khodorkovsky, Shakhnovsky, Brudno, Lededev, Yelfimov, Malakhovasky, Valdez, Pereverzin, and others persons which have not been established by the investigation, committed embezzlement of other peoples’ property entrusted to them on an especially large scale, and legalized monetary funds and assets…”
This group create a scheme to steal profits, gained by Yukos oil producing affiliates – by the companies “Yuganskneftegaz”, “Tomskneft”, and “Samaraneftegaz”. For that purpose, a network of intermediary companies was created, through which payments were channeled for exported oil, whereas the prime cost at which producers transferred oil to intermediaries, was several times lower than the price paid by end customers in the West.
According to the calculations of the Prosecution, as the result of using this scheme, interest of the oils producing companies were infringed, and they did not become, at least, $11billion. A lion share of the excess profits was paid as dividends to founders of these companies. And the founders of them were Yukos top-managers and main shareholders. This aspect the Prosecution qualified as legalizing of funds acquired by illegal means”
“USUAL OIL SALES” TURNED OUT TO BE CRIMINAL
The lawyers who understood that nobody would take a close look at difficult schemes and other nuances of oil embezzlement by way of its juridical reissuing, called as openly extortionate for the “affiliates” and flagrant for the Tax Service machinations of Yukos leadership “a standard practice of oil trading”. And the selling of raw materials to subordinated to Yukos companies at lowered, so-called transfer prices, was presented by the defense as “a usual thing for Russian exporters”.
Actually, many oil traders had become keen on transfer prices, but, first, many of them later obediently paid for these games serious penalties. And, second, as analysts and participants of the market pointed out, only brazen Khodorkovsky went in for games with transfer prices not of sales oil, bit of “borehole liquid”.
UNINVOLVED SHAKHNOVSKY AND RUNAWAY SWINDLERS
As to the criminal case No 18325531-04 from October 6, 2004, its preliminary materials, apparently, were “dismantled” and went to separate criminal cases. Vasily Shakhnovsky was not involved in these episodes, Mikhail Yelfimov, the acting head of “Yukos-PM”, was hidden, together with Andrey Leonovich, by cynical Britain. An impetuous character by the name of Antonio Valdez-Garcia was taken care of by Spain, where the defendant told a ton of heartbreaking detective stories suitable for tabloids that foreigners easily give credit to.
Vladimir Malakhovsky, the former head of the company “Ratibor”, general director of the LLC “Energotrade”, and Vladimir Pereverzin, main specialist of the Moscow affiliate of the company “Rutenhold Holdings Limited” and Yukos deputy director of foreign debt directorate, were adjudged guilty of “embezzlement of property on an especially large scale committed by a group of persons” (Article 160, paragraph 4, of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, and of “Legalizing by an organized group of monetary funds acquired as a result of an offence (Article 174.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). They were found guilty of embezzlement and laundering of 13 billion dollars.
ROBBER-BARONS ON DEFENDANTS BENCH
“The materials with regard to Khodorkovsky and Lebedev in 2005 were transformed into a criminal case, which was being meticulously investigated. In February 2007, the Office of the Prosecutor General of Russia, after completion of the investigation, filed charges against Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev confirming that they were accused of embezzlement of oil and money laundering. The sentence was passed at the end of 2010”, notes the website Prigovor.ru.
(See also the previous article “On this day, the court postponed the pronouncement of the verdict against Khodorkovsky”. The announcement read: “The verdict on the case against the leaders of the Oil Company Yukos is moved to May 16”. “Monetary charge for the mass media made by Leonid Nevzlin was way off the mark. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on April 28, 2005).