On this day, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were listening to their verdict

On this day, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were listening to their verdict

The verdict was measured in centimeters. 11 episodes of the criminal activity of the leadership of the “most transparent” oil company. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on May 16, 2005.

On this day 17 years ago, on May 16, 2005, in the Meschansky District Court of Moscow began the pronouncement of the verdict on the former head of the oil company NK Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky, head of the International Financial Association MFO “Menatep” Platon Lebedev, and former general director of the JSC “Volna” Andrey Kraynov.

The legal proceedings on the criminal case began as early as on July 20, 2004, and they lasted until the end of April 2005. During this time, hundreds of witnesses of prosecution and defense were questioned in court, evidence of experts were heard, files of documents were studied, as well as other proofs. The materials of the investigation comprised more than 400 volumes. The pronouncement of the verdict was initially planned on April 27, 2005, yet the final of this process was deferred to May 16 because of the voluminous text of the verdict.

(See also the article “On this day, 200 volumes of the criminal case were presented to Khodorkovsky” and the article “On this day, the case of the swindler Khodorkovsky was handed over to court”).

The defendant Khodorkovsky M.B. was imputed by the investigation with seven Articles of the Criminal Code of Russia:

- Article 159, paragraph 3 (Fraud on a large scale);

- Article 160, paragraph 1 (Misappropriation or Embezzlement);

- Article 165 (Infliction of Property Damage through Deception or Abuse of Confidence);

- Article 198, paragraph 2 (Evasion by a Natural Person of Paying a Tax and (or) Fee on an especially large scale);

- Article 199, paragraph 2 (Evading Payment of Taxes and (or) Fees from Organizations, by a group of persons by previous concert, on an especially large scale);

- Article 315 (Willful non execution of the court’s judgement);

- Article 327, paragraph 2 (Multiple Forgery of Documents).

In the materials of the case have found their reflection 11 episodes of the criminal activity of the leadership of the “most transparent” oil company.

(See also “The Verdict of the Meschansky District Court of Moscow from May 16, 2005).

The defense had always been trying to put an end to one of the most well-known episodes of the lawsuit, the embezzlement of the shares of the JSC “Apatit” on account of the expiry of the term of limitation. However, during the proceedings, the court kept this issue in the criminal case and thought it necessary to give an all-round assessment of all the materials received by the court for consideration.


“Khodorkovsky M.B. and Lebedev P.L. committed fraud, i.e. the acquiring of the right of other people’s property by way of cheating, as part of an organized group, on a big scale”, started to read out Judge Irina Kolesnikova. And the more pages of the verdict were read out, the clearer picture became the gathered audience as to the oncoming transition of Khodorkovsky to a correctional facility. On the first day, the court could read out its conclusions on 6 from 11episodes of the accusation. Representatives of the defense, after the announcement of a recess, started “to make waves”, saying that “the beginning of the verdict repeats the letter of accusation”, implying that the verdict was bad for the defendants not because the defendants were real swindlers, but because the court agreed with the prosecution.

“Up until now, we see only one thing: the court’s verdict repeats verbatim the letter of accusation – with the same grammatical mistakes”, said the defense counsel Anton Drel after the completion of the first day of the proceedings. The lawyer, obviously, had in his head an embedded module “of spelling correction by air”. The defense counsel Karina Moskalenko was in a sad mood, and said that “she didn’t expect any other result”. And it seems that that was this was exactly the case when the result completely corresponded to the defense line. However, Yuri Schmidt, maestro of attorneyship, was brief and said that his client would become a guilty verdict.


“The press, at that time, was interested in the other side of the proceedings as well. The question about who long the court would read out the verdict was definitely felt in the agenda. The lawyers, on the basis of their professional experience and the volume of the criminal case, argued that the verdict would consist of about one thousand pages, and the reading out of it would take from three to four days. But that forecast seemed to be insufficient. Somebody managed to gauge the volume of the verdict, and gave the result of it – the depth of the file was 15 centimeters. In a word, everything was done in order not to bother the audience with important details of the proceedings – for instance, with documental proofs of the criminal activities of the leadership of “the most transparent” oil company, for which the prosecution demanded ten years of imprisonment”, noted the website Prigovor.ru.

(See also the previous article “On this day, the Supreme Court of Russia dismissed the mythmaking of Yukos defense”. The Ruling of the Supreme Court of Russia No 5-D 12-24: “The arguments of the defense are inconsistent, there is no reason to redress the supervisory complaint…” The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on May 15, 2012.)

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