Once upon a time, Lebedev and Khodorkovsky were putting up a swindle… Court accepted a motion of lawyers to unite two criminal cases. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on June 7, 2004.
On this day 18 years ago, on June 7, 2004, the lawyers of the former head of the oil company NK Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky* and of the head of the International Financial Association MFO “Menatep” Platon Lebedev, informed about filing a motion in court on uniting the two criminal cases against Lebedev and against Khodorkovsky into one. This motion was substantiated by arguments about common sense and convenience of the coming process, which entered already a phase of preliminary hearings.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky* and Platon Lebedev were indicted under seven Articles of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
- Article 159, paragraph 3 (Swindle on a large scale);
- Article 160, paragraph 1 (Misappropriation or Embezzlement);
- Article 165 (Infliction of Property Damage Trough Deception or Abuse of Confidence”;
- Article 198, paragraph 2 (Evasion by a Natural Person of Paying Tax and (or) Fee;
- Article 199, paragraph 2 (Evading Payment of Taxes and (or) Fees Collectable from Organizations);
- Article 315 (Willful non-execution of the court’s decision);
- Article 327, paragraph 2 (Repeated Forgery of Documents).
Among episodes of the criminal activity in the economic sphere, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were accused, in particular, od the fraudulent acquisition of the 20% stack of shares of the JSC “Apatit”, tax evasion by physical and legal persons. Their united criminal case made up 400 volumes of materials. Preliminary damage of their illegal activity in the initial stage of the investigation was estimated to be valued at $1 billion. Before entering the stage of court’s hearings, the criminal cases against Lebedev and Khodorkovsky had been separate proceedings.
THEY WERE DOING TOGETHER ONE THING
An effort to united two cases in one was planned by lawyers of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev as early as in May. Yet, on May 28, there were no time to consider it. One side of the process – the Tax Service – had demanded time to study the materials of the case, and for that purpose a recess was announced. Thus, the issue was transferred to the agenda of the next session. However, the lawyers of the swindlers from Yukos discovered in this technical issue “intrigues of the prosecutor’s office”.
Yuri Schmidt, a lawyer of Khodorkovsky, counted on common sense of the court, “despite obvious unwillingness of the prosecutor’s office”. In the words of the lawyer, “this case, actually, is one crime, the crime Khodorkovsky and Lebedev are accused of, it’s one and the same case”, said Yuri Schmidt. He pointed out that a united process would allow to consider the case more “fully and from all angles”.
YUKOS LAWYERS HELPED PROSECUTION AND COURT
The criminal cases against Lebedev and Khodorkovsky, despite their resemblance and a great number of intersections in time and space, had, nevertheless, some differences, beginning with the fact that Khodorkovsky had been the head of the Oil Company Yukos, and Lebedev was the head of the MFO “Menatep”, with each having their own statuary powers, rights and obligations, and, apart from that, the episode of the embezzlement of Khodorkovsky to the benefit of Vladimir Gusinsky 2 649 906 620 rubles and the committed damage to all shareholders of the Oil Company Yukos was not imputed to Platon Lebedev. That is why the investigation worked separately on these two similar criminal cases.
Another difference lied in volumes – Khodorkovsky’s case counted 230 volumes, and Lebedev’s – 170 volumes. And after the work had been done, and the materials had gone to court, the question came up to unite them. The lawyers, having met no objections from the part of the state prosecution, successfully managed to solve this problem – and the two cases, at the suggestion of the defense, became a united case against Khodorkovsky, Lebedev and Kraynov, who had been running errands for them, so, as the result, all the participants were spared of double work.
(See also the previous article “On this day, Leonid Nevzlin was being pushed into a rector’s chair”. Robber-barons from Yukos set sights on privatizing the Russian State University for Humanities (RGGU). $100 millions during 10 years on bribing humanities scholars. The website Prigovor.ru reminds its readers of what happened on June 6, 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.