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Partner of Russian Oil Tycoon Released Early from Prison

FILE - Mikhail Khodorkovsky, left, and co-defendant Platon Lebedev.
FILE - Mikhail Khodorkovsky, left, and co-defendant Platon Lebedev.
Russia's highest court has ordered the release of the jailed business partner of oil tycoon MIkhail Khodorkovsky, who himself was released from prison last month.

The court announced Thursday that Platon Lebedev is eligible to be released immediately.

However, the court left in place a back tax claim against both Khodorkovsky and Lebedev. Khodorkovsky left Russia immediately after his release in December and has said he will not return as long as the back tax claim remains in force, because he could be prevented from leaving again.

Khodorkovsky and Lebedev have each spent about 10 years in prison on fraud and tax evasion charges.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.
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