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Former Russian Oil Tycoon Gets More Jail Time

Mikhail Khodorkovsky reacts after being sentenced in a Moscow court, 30 Dec 2010
Mikhail Khodorkovsky reacts after being sentenced in a Moscow court, 30 Dec 2010

A Moscow court has sentenced Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man, to an additional six years in prison. The former oil tycoon will remain in prison until 2017. A Russian judge granted the prosecutor's sentencing request that Khodorkovsky serve a total of 14 years.

Khodorkovsky was convicted earlier this week on charges of money laundering and embezzling. It was his second trial.

Khodorkovsky's mother, Marina Khodorkovskaya, was expecting a sentence on Wednesday. She grew angry over the court proceedings. She said they expected an end to the comedy - finally, with a sentence.

The former Yukos oil owner was arrested in 2003 and convicted in 2005 on charges of tax evasion and fraud. Prosecutors claim Khodorkovsky stole oil and money from subsidiaries of Yukos.

Konstantin Rivkin, Khodorkovsky's lawyer, says the sentence is ridiculous. He said that so far, the verdict copies the prosecutor's charge by 90 percent. There are statements there that Khodorkovsky and his business partner even tried to lead Yukos operations through their lawyers from jail.

Khodorkovsky's father, Boris Khodorkovsky, echoes his son's lawyer's sentiments. He said, "I am always astonished when they say they that Khodorkovsky and his business partner have been pocketing this and that, stealing oil. They say he has stolen billions, right? So has he bought himself a football club, or a yacht or even built a house for himself? He rented his house."

Many analysts viewed the charges as the Kremlin's response for challenging then president Vladimir Putin. And, Mikhail Kasyanov, who served as prime minister under Putin, testified in court that the Kremlin ordered the arrest of Khodorkovsky because he had angered Putin by funding the Communist party.

The verdict was condemned by the United States, other European countries and human rights activists. Khodorkovsky maintains his innocence.