Platon Lebedev is suspected of misappropriation of $283 million. Khodorkovsky* and Nevzlin received subpoenas for interrogation as witnesses. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on July 3, 2003.
On this day 20 years ago, on July 3, 2003, the Basmanny District Court of Moscow issued as arrest warrant for the head of the CJSC International Financial Association MFO “Menatep” Platon Lebedev. A corresponding motion was filed in court by the Office of the Prosecutor General of Russia. The billionaire Lebedev was apprehended on July 2, 2003 within the framework of the investigation of the criminal case No 18/41-03. It was “the big case of Yukos” regarding fraud, embezzlement and tax evasion on an especially large scale committed by a group of persons consisting of members of the leaderships of the oil company Yukos and MFO “Menatep”.
“Platon Lebedev is suspected of stealing in 1994 20% of the stock of shares of the OJSC “Apatit”, belonging to the state, to the amount of $283 million 142 thousand (Article 159, paragraph 3, of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation)”, reported the Office of the Prosecutor explaining investigative actions with regard to the billionaire-swindler. Having heard materials of the case, the court chose a measure of restriction for Lebedev – detention in custody. The defendant was sent to the pre-trial detention center “Lefortovo”.
IN CHARACTER OF “SICK AND HELPLESS PERSON”
By the way, on the day of choosing a measure of restriction for Lebedev, the defense, as “a line of defense”, chose to exploit the theme of “sick and helpless person”. Defense counsels, in their own words, gave a pledge of non-disclosure of the materials of the case, yet they said Lebedev “is in an extremely bad conditions, and perhaps, didn’t understand what was presented to him”.
At the same time, Lebedev, who “didn’t understand”, quickly realized that he should back out of his signature on certain documents. So, Lebedev, according to his lawyers, refused to sign a ruling on filing a charge against him.
MEETING ON NEWSPAPERS’ PAGES
Business publications, as expected, were monotonically outraged by this event. The arrest of Platon Lebedev was called “an attack on transparent Yukos” and destruction of “the business climate of the country”. “Big business” (in one day) «ran into danger”, as well as all wealthy people, as Platon Lebedev was itemized on the list of the journal “Forbes” with his personal fortune amounting to $1 billion. And, in general, the arrest of Lebedev was a blow to the face of Yukos, i.e. to the face of Mikhail Khodorkovsky who had political plans.
“The fact that this “case”, belonging to 1994, was taken from the shelf, will be regarded by top-managers as a signal that it’s better to live abroad” – such an advice was given by the newspaper “Vremya Novostey”. The media outlet even didn’t think of giving to oligarchs another advice – “not to sack”.
“Choir singing” of the purchased press didn’t work. On the same day, news outlets reported that the investigation issued subpoenas for Leonid Nevzlin and Mikhail Khodorkovsky*, whom the newspaper “Izvestiya” spotted at the reception in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Khodorkovsky was laconic, he asked to pose all questions to corresponding employees of the corporation. The corresponding questions, in particular, about summons delivered to top-managers of the company to the Office of the Prosecutor General, received a corresponding answer: “What summons? Drivel!” On the next day, the robber-barons Nevzlin and Khodorkovsky were sitting as witnesses in an office of investigators and pretended to answer questions. They were still hoping that everybody could be bought”, notes the website Prigovor.ru.
(See also the previous article “On this day, Platon Lebedev was apprehended”. Hide-and-seek on a hospital bed. Beginning of a big investigation of Khodorkovsky’s organized criminal group. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on July 2, 2003).
*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.