Russian tycoons' lawyers appeal against verdict

20:41, December 31, 2010      

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Former Russian tycoons Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev had appealed their convictions on embezzlement, oil theft and legalizing stolen property charges, local media reported Friday.

The two were found guilty on Monday and a Moscow district judge sentenced them Thursday to 14 and 13.5 years in prison, respectively.

Karina Moskalenko, one of the two men's lawyers, told local media: "We request that a higher court overturn the verdict and stop the progress of criminal charges (against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev) due to a lack of evidence of a crime committed."

The lawyers had submitted a short version of the appeal, but a full version would be submitted within the 10-day time frame allowed by Russian law, she said.

"In the short version of the appeal, we only express our disagreement with the guilty verdict and ask the Moscow Court to stop the process of the criminal charges against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev," Moskalenko said.

"(In the full version), we have a number of claims against both the verdict itself and the court protocol," she said.

Moskalenko said the full version would be submitted "as soon as we get a copy of the verdict."

According to local media, the appeal was filed so urgently because the next 10 days would be non-working New Year holidays and Orthodox Christmas holidays in Russia.

Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were sentenced to nine years of imprisonment in 2005 for tax evasion and fraud. Their sentences were later reduced to eight years. Monday's convictions were on new charges.

Source: Xinhua
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