On this day, Khodorkovsky was officially recognized as criminal

On this day, Khodorkovsky was officially recognized as criminal

Khodorkovsky has committed 9 crimes under 6 Articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, and he has been sentenced to 9 years imprisonment in a general regime penal colony. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on May 31, 2005.

On this day 17 years ago, On May 31, 2005, the Meschansky District Court of Moscow completed the pronouncement of the verdict on the criminal case of the former head of the oil company NK Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky*, head of the International Financial Association “Menatep” Playon Lebedev, and former general director of the CJSC “Volna” Andrey Kraynov. The twelfth day of the pronouncement of the verdict was final of the lawsuit, which had started as early as on July 20, 2004 and had lasted until the end of April 2005. During this time, more than a hundred witnesses of the prosecution and defense were interrogated, evidence of experts heard, stocks of documents of other proofs analyzed. The materials of the case comprised more than 400 volumes.

Initially, the pronouncement of the verdict was supposed to start on April 27, 2005, yet because of a rather voluminous size of the verdict, the court began its pronouncement on May 16, 2006, and completed the criminal case on May 31, 2005.

(See the text of the verdict of the Meschansky District Court of Moscow of May 16, 2005, on Khodorkovsky M.B., Lebedev P.L. and Kraynov A.V.)

Having studied the materials of the case and having evaluated arguments of the sides, the Meschansky District Court of Moscow adjudged guilty the former head of the oil company NK Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky and the head of “Menatep” Platon Lebedev, and on totality of the committee crimes sentenced them to 9 years imprisonment each in a general regime penal colony.

“The terms of the punishment for the defendants are to calculate from the moment of their incarceration – for Lebedev from July 2, 2005, and for Khodorkovsky from October 25, 2003”, specified the court.

The court held that Khodorkovsky had committed eight crimes under six articles of the Criminal Code. The seventh Article (Forgery of Documents) was excluded by the court. According to the court, the forgery of documents in this case had been a way to evade paying taxes of a physical person, that is why it had been imputed unneedful.

The court adjudged guilty the head of the CJSC “Volna” Andrey Kraynov of fraudulent acquisition of 22 billion 800 million pre-revaluation rubles and sentenced him to 5 years (suspended) incarceration with a probation period of five years.


On the same day, the Meschansky District Court of Moscow presented its conclusions on one of the main charges – of the fraudulent embezzlement of 20% shares of the OJSC “Apatit”. With this episode the lawyers of the swindlers fought with the help of the simplest manner – during the whole proceedings, the defense had been constantly petitioned for excluding it because of “the expiry of the limitation period”.

(See also the article “On this day, embezzlement of “Apatit” shares was left in the criminal case”).

This embezzlement of the shares of the OJSC “Apatit”, as it was mentioned in the materials of the case, allowed Khodorkovsky’s organized criminal group to obtain the strategic management of the company, which entailed a whole bunch of other crimes.

The lawyers and the prosecution argued a lot on this question during the process. As to the court, it acted from the logic of a full-scale studies of all materials of the criminal case, presented in the charges, and left the decision on “the expiry of limitations periods” to the final stage of the lawsuit. And the court didn’t forget to close this question. In connection with the expiry of the 10 years limitation period, the court determined a criminal cause on the dismissal of the criminal case in this particular part.

At the same time, an expiry of limitation period is not an exoneration. The criminal cause on this matter said: “the court finds it necessary to dismiss the criminal case No 1-39/05 against Khodorkovsky Mikhail Borisovich and Kraynov Andrey Vladimirovich as to charges of the fraudulent acquisition of the shares of the OJSC “Apatit” in connection of the expiration of the limitation period and to drop charges against them in this part of the accusation”.

Similar norm of the law was also applied to Platon Lebedev – his criminal case No 1-33/05 with regard to the fraudulent acquisition of the shares of the OJSC “Apatit” was also dismissed. However, the expiry of the limitation period is not a rehabilitating circumstance, and the embezzlement of the shares of the OJSC “Apatit” was kept safe in the criminal records of the Yukos swindlers for history.


As pointed out the “First TV Channel” in its report, according to procedure, the judge, after the pronouncement of the verdict, should ask the defendants whether they understood what was just read. “In response to this question, Andrey Kraynov said “Yes”, Mikhail Khodorkovsky said “Yes, I understand. I think this verdict is a monument to justice”, and Platon Lebedev said “a mentally fit person cannot make sense of what was just read out”. After that, the verdict was once more read out to Platon Lebedev, but only the part of it, that was directly connected with his actions”.

In Yukos, the verdict was called “a monstrous distortion of justice”, although Khodorkovsky together with Lebedev had stolen from the state only taxes to the amount of $25 million. Prepared mottos were pronounced about “a political background of the process” – these mottos were lately refuted by the ECtHR.

The ordering customer of murders and attempted murders Leonid Nevzlin habitually was telling about “a staged process”. In a word, “witnesses of saint Khodorkovsky” behaved as usual – insolently and cynically.

As to the renowned lawyers, who had failed miserably, they were prepared to such final of the lawsuit, ad said they would appeal the verdict. It had to be said that, during the cassation, they managed to obtained that the term of imprisonment of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev was reduced from 9 years to 8 years.

Yet, upcoming was the second case against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev – the case on embezzlement of oil and legalizing (laundering) of property acquired by illegal means.

By the way, it is useful to compare this lawsuit with the present day. 17 years ago, the company Yukos was withdrawn from the swindler Khodorkovsky and his henchmen as the result of a long and just court process. This, by the way, was acknowledged even by the ECtHR. Nowadays, “the European democracies” are expropriating the property worth billions of Russian businessmen without any lawsuit or investigation. And underlings like Khodorkovsky and Nevzlin are instigating, applauding and demanding further extrajudicial executions”, notes the website Prigovor.ru.

(See also the previous article “On this day, the court made it through to Andrey Kraynov”. “Kraynov A.V. is the head of firms, used by the organized criminal group as shell-companies for committing crimes…” The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on May 30, 2005).

*On May 20, 2022, the Russian Ministry of Justice, included M.B. Khodorkovsky in the list of physical persons executing functions of a foreign agent.

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