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Moscow Court Rejects Khodorkovsky Appeal


A Moscow court has rejected the appeal of former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky against his conviction on fraud and tax evasion charges, but the court reduced his prison sentence from nine to eight years.

Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man, was convicted in May in what his supporters call a political trial in retaliation for the tycoon's backing of opposition politicians.

Thursday's proceedings got underway after the court repeatedly rejected defense motions for a delay to allow them more preparation time.

In a statement to the court, Khodorkovsky proclaimed his innocence and accused bureaucrats opposed to his funding of the political opposition of responsibility for his conviction.

Supporters of the former chief of the giant Russian oil firm Yukos say authorities had rushed through the appeal to prevent Khodorkovsky from running in a December parliamentary by-election.

Some information for this story provided by AP and Reuters.

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