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Russian court cuts prison term for former oil tycoon

(Xinhua)

09:31, August 09, 2012

MOSCOW, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- A Russian court Wednesday reduced the 13-year prison sentence meted out to a former oil tycoon who had been convicted of tax evasion and fraud.

The Velsk district court in the northern Arkhangelsk region has agreed with the lawyers' petition to reconsider the sentence for Platon Lebedev, former co-owner of the Yukos oil company, according to a statement published on the court's website.

Lebedev's business partner, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is also serving a 13-year prison term on similar charges. The two men, along with several other Yukos partners, were arrested in 2003 and sentenced in 2005 by Khamovniki district court in Moscow.

The Velsk court's top judge, Victor Ivanov, partly agreed with the arguments presented by Lebedev's attorneys and cut Lebedev's term by three years and four months. The attorneys for Lebedev, who refused to participate in Wednesday's hearing, asked for their client's immediate release.
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