On this day, a “funny story” about embezzlement was told to Mikhail Khodorkovsky

On this day, a “funny story” about embezzlement was told to Mikhail Khodorkovsky

The “siphoning” by Mikhail Khodorkovsky of “his own assets” to the benefit of Vladimir Gusinsky turned out to be criminal – the money belonged to all shareholders of the oil company Yukos. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on May 17, 2005.

On this day 17 years ago, on May 17, 2005, the Meschansky District Court of Moscow continued the pronouncement of the verdict on the criminal case against Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Platon Lebedev, and Andrey Kraynov that had been started on the eve.

On the first day, the court read out its conclusions on 6 episodes out of 11. After a recess, the number of the read out episodes increased to 10. As to the 11th episode, connected with the stocks of the company “Apatit”,  the court, having attentively studied it during the proceedings, took it off the table and gave to understand that it should be excluded from the case in connection with “the expiry of the limitation period”, and that would be later mentioned in the court’s decision.

At the same time, the court reminded of the machinations of Lebedev and Khodorkovsky in trading of apatite concentrate through shell-firms.

(See also the article “On this day, the conviction against Platon Lebedev was enforced by a concentrate”. "He committed embezzlement to the total amount of $32 527 792.56").

The court didn’t forget about tax crimes of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev. As leaders of legal persons, they were imputed with Article 199 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Evading Payment of Taxes and (or) Fees Collectible from Organizations). The sum of the tax machinations amounted to 17 billion 395 million 449 thousand 282 rubles.

But even this was not enough for Khodorkovsky – the whole company Yukos and its “major shareholders” evaded paying taxes as physical persons as well, which is a component element of the crime under Article 198 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

(See also the article “Tax mechanics of Khodorkovsky as a physical person” and the article “On this day, an offshore fiction was disclosed” One offshore company for five wheeler-dealers).


The voluminous verdict, nearly 700 pages of text – this is a detailed citation of crimes’ circumstances, conclusions of the court, and positions of the sides. And, naturally, it’s a large body of evidence – business letters, invoices, extracts, analytical memos, testimonies of witnesses – the pronouncement of all that took a lot of time.

Nevertheless, the “non-indifferent citizens” from Yukos were jumping on the street near the court premises as part of the decoration, came into conflict with officers of the law enforcement agencies creating a picture for the press. “The Judge is not in a hurry, and intentionally protracts the pronouncement of the verdict!”, declared with indignation the gathered activists who were not embarrassed by their own position according to which “the investigation is in a hurry”.

And not to mention the fact that “the non-indifferent crown scene” nearly in the same composition, later, in 2010, was indignant about “too speedy pronouncement of the verdict” in the Khamovnichesky District Court of Moscow where the verdict was being delivered on the second case of the swindler Khodorkovsky. Against the background of all this brouhaha, lawyers, indignant with the final of the lawsuit, continued the struggle against the decision. They did it in a rather peculiar manner, trying to convince the gathered crowd that the criminal episodes looked like “funny stories, like jokes”.


In the words of the lawyer Yuri Schmidt, like a funny story looked the episode of Khodorkovsky’s embezzlement in favor of Gusinsky. The essence of this funny story was that Khodorkovsky put his hands not in his own pocket, as the lawyers were narrated, but in the money box of the joint stock company named Oil Company NK Yukos, and then siphoned the money to Gusinsky, partly as payment for the building, which had been under arrest and could not be disposed.

According to the verdict, “as the result of the actions of Khodorkovsky M.B. with regard to the embezzlement of 2 649 906 620 rubles a damage was inflicted not only to the real owners, to legal persons, but also shareholders of these legal persons because of the corresponding underpricing of the received profits in accordance with these sums, and, correspondingly, the reduction of stock dividends”.

“According to the evidence, the persons under control of Khodorkovsky M.B. and Gusinsky V.A. in their work-related activities, by way of fraud, made possible the transfer of property rights on the building to controllable by Khodorkovsky M.B. organizations. In such a way, Khodorkovsky M.B. managed to hide a part of the embezzled monetary assets. “The actions of the defendant Khodorkovsky M.B. on this episode of the accusation the court qualifies under Article 160, paragraph 3, subparagraphs “a” and ‘b” of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation” (Embezzlement)”, pointed out the court.

There is no reason to say that Vladimir Gusinsky and Mikhail Khodorkovsky were pulling off this deal through shell firms that had no their own offices, and their directors “were not in the picture” about deals, about money movements, and simply rubber-stamped already completed documents. In the “most transparent” oil company Yukos, celebrated by the Western press, such murky bookkeeping was common practice, but the glossy corporative reports of Yukos kept silence about it. With this corporate reports Khodorkovsky confused both Russian and foreign shareholders”, notes the website Prigovor.ru.

(See also the previous article “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).

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