Tags: mikhail khodorkovsky

Khodorkovsky’s associate wants leniency without repentance


Former head of Menatep Group Platon Lebedev, jailed to 13 years in prison for embezzlement of large sum of money from selling oil and money laundering, has appealed against the legal provision requiring convicts to plea guilty before asking for parole.

Lebedev appealed to the Constitution Court of the Russian Federation, demanding that certain articles of the Penitentiary Code be considered unconstitutional. According to the Article 175.1 of the Code, convicts can apply for parole after pleading guilty and covering damages, at least partially. Lebedev submitted request for parole, but a court rejected it, ruling that he had not pleaded guilty and had not covered the damages voluntary. Lebedev’s lawyers say that he has never pleaded guilty and that the demand for such a plea goes against his constitutional right not to testify against himself.

Earlier the court rejected a complaint against Platon Lebedev and Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s guilty verdict. Lebedev and Khodorkovsky were found guilty of embezzlement of money from selling 200 million tons of oil and tax evasion.

Lawyers of Lebedev said to Russian Mafia (rumafia.com) that they understood that even if the Constitution Court ruled in favour of Lebedev, a lower court might again reject his request.


Strasbourg Court rules fairly on Yukos



The European Court of Human Rights has rejected the company’s claim that the prosecution of Yukos was politically motivated in its Tuesday’s ruling. Russian government had not violated article 14 of 1950 European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits discrimination on any ground, including political opinion, the court unanimously held. The court has also ruled that Russia did not use the court proceedings as a pretext to destroy Yukos and take control of its assets. Article 18 of the Convention was not, thus, violated. However, the court discovered violation of Article 1 of 1952 Protocol of the Convention, securing the right of every person to enjoy his possessions, concerning the 2000 and 2001 tax assessment. But the violations were procedural.

Judges ruled that key violation in Yukos case was not giving enough time for the managers to prepare its defense, binding the company to pay back taxes in a short period of time, which was a disproportionate way in achieving legitimate aim. The Strasbourg court said, “Before choosing to auction the asset [Yuganskneftegaz] that was the last hope of the company to survive, the authorities had to examine properly other variants that could reduce the damages of the indebted company”. The state, thus, pressed ahead with selling 76.79% in Yuganskneftegaz. Besides that, the execution fee of 43 billion roubles ($1.4b) for executing the tax warrant, was absolutely disproportionate and delivered a “fatal blow to Yukos’ ability to stay in business”, the court ruled.

Yukos sought 81 billion euros in damages for violations of the rights of the company, plus a daily interest payment of 29.6 billion euros for pecuniary damage and no less than 100,000 euros for moral damage. The court deferred its ruling on the company’s claims, saying that the sides could agree on the final sum of compensation within 3 months. The decision is opened for appeals in the Grand Chamber of the Court. However, the sides would be unwilling to settle the issue of compensation, the analysts say, and the compensation will be settled by the Strasbourg court. The compensation will be considerably less than Yukos claimed.


Khodorkovsky has a crime boss on his side


Vyacheslav Shestakov, an influential Slavic kingpin nicknamed Sliva, incurred the wrath of the FSB. The counterintelligence agency spotted his attempt to help Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former head of Yukos. Shestakov has decided to arrange more favourable conditions of confinement for the tycoon. Now if Sliva returns to Russia, he would be arrested. 

A Russian intelligence services insider told Rumafia, that it was only by chance that the security agency staff found out about Sliva’s determination to help Khodorkovsky. They tapped the phones of influential crime bosses, including gangsters responsible for supporting those in prison. Suddenly the investigators registered several calls from abroad. The caller contacted thieves in law and asked them about the situation in colony-7 in the city of Segezh. It is the colony where Mikhail Khodorkovsky is serving his sentence. It turned out that kingpin Vyacheslav Shestakov was the one who was calling. In particular, he called his protégé, Vladimir Ozersky, thief in law nicknamed Zuzya. 

Thief in law Vladimir Ozersky, nicknamed Zuzya

Zuzya was crowned on the recommendation of Sliva in November 2008 by Aslan Usoyan a.k.a.Grandpa Khassan and Vyacheslav Ivankov a.k.a. Yaponchik in a Moscow night club Chocolate. Soon, Ozersky was convicted of robbery and use of forged documents. He served his sentence in colony-7 in Senezh. When in May 2011 he was released, he immediately got in touch with Sliva and several other thieves in law. Zuzya told them how he was forced to join discipline section in the colony so that to improve relations with the administration and other prisoners. Among criminals such an act always entails deprivation of the title of thief in law, but in the case of Zyuzya criminal generals took no measures for some reason. Sliva took much trouble for the situation to end this way. In July 2011 at Vnukovo airport the police arrested Ozersky for carrying drugs. 

Sliva contacted him and directly asked to use all connections in colony-7 so that to make incarceration conditions more favourable for Khodorkovsky, that is so that other convicts did not threaten the oligarch, but helped him, and the personnel treated him with respect, etc. Shestakov addressed a number of influential thieves in law with a similar request. 

FSB staff is absolutely certain that it is the prerogative of their office to determine the conditions Khodorkovsky would be serving his sentence in. They were extremely annoyed with the emergence of so to say a competitor. As a result, it was decided that as soon as he returned to Russia, he would be arrested on any charges. Most likely, he would face drug possession. However, in recent years Shestakov has not come to Moscow that often. He prefers to live in Europe, mainly in Austria. From time to time Sliva also comes to Latvia, where he has real estate. 
The motives that make Sliva want to help the oligarch are clear for special services. According to collected data, people close to Khodorkovsky, who live abroad, are generous when it comes to rendering assistance to the former head of Yukos. They addressed Shestakov with a request to make the tycoon’s life in prison as comfortable as possible. For the service they offered Sliva a large sum of money. 

Vyacheslav Nikolayevich Shestakov began his criminal career in 1974, when at seventeen he received his first sentence for hooliganism. Then Sliva was behind bars three more times on various charges and by the end of the 1980s became a respected man in the underworld world. According to investigators, it was Shestakov, Lazar and Vorona who set up Luberetskaya criminal group. He also cooperated with Anton Malevsky, leader of the Izmailovo-golyanovskaya criminal group.

Thief in law Vyacheslav Shestakov, nicknamed Sliva

In 1991 Shestakov got annoyed with three Azeri traders and shot them, for which he was sentenced to12 years in a high-security prison. But even behind bars he continued to misbehave. He refused to work and constantly put up a fight. In the end, thieves in law crowned Sliva and he was transferred to a colony near the village of Bely Yar in Tomsk region that is considered to be one of the toughest in Russia. But Shestakov has always been a pro in what comes to securing a comfortable life in prison. He developed friendly relations with other inmates and the staff. As a result, he had a separate cell with a TV set and other household amenities, and then the colony staff began to ... let him free to make visits. As security services noted, Sliva did not waste his days out of the colony and he could be seen at gangster gatherings in Tyumen, Sverdlovsk region, and other parts of the country. Then, on petition from the corrective facility the kingpin was transferred to a free settlement. In 1996 he was allowed to go to Moscow for medical treatment. Sliva never returned. He sent some medical examination form certifying that he had cancer of the bladder and that he was about to parish, so he did not return to spend the remaining time in prison. It is noteworthy that the colony staff turned a blind eye to all that. 

Only when Moscow region RUBOP spotted Sliva in Lyubertsy to their surprise, they initiated proceedings against Sliva under Article 314 (evasion from serving the sentence).

In 2000 Shestakov was arrested in the Czech Republic and extradited to Moscow. But soon he was freed again. Luberetskiy court dismissed prosecution of Sliva in connection with an amnesty in honour of the 55th anniversary of Victory in Great Patriotic War (for the court decision, please visit rumafia.com). 
Recently, Shestakov is an influential man in the criminal world and is considered to be one of the leaders of the Slavic criminal clans. 


Thomas Petrov, Alexey Gordon, Rumafia.com

Khodorkovsky verdict was crossed out


 Former spokesperson of Moscow’s Khamovnichesky Court Natalya Vasilyeva has been interrogated by the Investigative Committee of Russia as a part of the probe into the proceedings of the court, following the request by the lawyers of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev. The Russian Mafia (rumafia.com) reported that the lawyers of the ex-Yukos boss addressed head of the Investigative Committee Aleksandr Bastrykin with the written request to open criminal investigation into judge of the Khamovnichesky Court Viktor Danilkin, who extended Khodorkovsky’s prison sentence, and other judges of the Moscow City Court.

Vasilyeva told the investigators she did not see the judges of the Moscow City Court working on the draft of the verdict. No she heard Danilkin discuss the verdict with anybody else. However she presented investigator Drymanov with the copy of document which her lawyer described as the resolution of an “unread verdict”.

Three pages were crossed with a ball pen and marked with three exclamation marks on each page. The document says: “the final sentence of 10 years of imprisonment which should be served in penal colony of ordinary type is to be conferred to Khodorkovsky M.B.”.

Vadim Klyuvgant, Khodorkovsky’s lawyer said: “It is not the document that is interesting but the result of the probe by the Investigation Committee. The result will tell if there is a fair investigation after our request or it is a sham. It does not matter how many years are there on the document - be it 10 years or 10 days.”  


Khodorkovsky and Lebedev are NOT prisoners of conscience


International human rights organisation Amnesty International has replied to an open letter (“letter of 45”) by a group of Russian intellegentsia who in March 2011 asked AI to declare the head of Yukos and the CEO of Menatep the prisoners of conscience. “Amnesty International considers a person to be a prisoner of conscience only if it can tell for sure that not a single accusation brought against him is justified,” the reply reads.

The human rights group stressed the fact that Khodorkovsky and Lebedev face charges of fraud and tax-evasion. It is the second time when Amnesty International refuses to declare Khodorkovsky and his fellow defendant the prisoners of conscience.

However, the organisation does not exclude the possibility it makes up its mind. “Amnesty International is currently scrutinising the court order in the second trial. We will reconsider our position in a view of ensuing appeal and according to our policy and principles”.

The Russian Mafia (rumafia.com) reference: Amnesty International has published 2011 report on human rights in the world. In the section about Russia the authors of the document paid special attention to the second trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev. “The independence of the Russian judiciary rises serious doubts. The charges brought against them are probably politically motivated”.


Khodorkovsky’s millions cropped up in an Irish bank

Allegedly, the money belongs to Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former head of Yukos Oil Company. Investment houses registered with the Dublin International Financial Services Centre provided assistance in money placement. The suspicious transaction was reported about to the Irish police by the financial intelligence. At first investigation assumed that this large-scale transaction involved drug dealing or terrorism. There is no official information so far as to how the law enforcements agencies traced the frozen accounts to Mr Khodorkovsky. 
Another 35 million euros on accounts in Irish banks also came in view of the police. The former magnet may have a total of 200 million euros on these accounts which belong to third parties.  
The case is investigated by The Criminal Assets Bureau. The Bureau may file a petition to the court requesting a property confiscation order or an order allowing appropriation of the money on the accounts by the government. Police of other European states has already launched a check of banking accounts linked to the Irish ones. For instance, the British authorities are checking major off-shore accounts on the Channel Islands that may be linked to the Russian businessman.
The magnet’s lawyer, Yuri Schmidt, claims that until they receive information from reliable sources there will be no comments on the situation.