Yukos Executive Sentenced to Six More Years

June 25, 2013
Leonid Nevzlin/Photo: Eyal Toueg

[Leonid Nevzlin, a former executive of the Yukos oil company, has been tried in absentia and found guilty of misappropriating shares. The proceedings against the former Yukos executives have been widely criticized by international human rights monitors—Ed.]

Today [June 24—Ed.] a Moscow district court sentenced Leonid Nevzlin, one of the major Yukos shareholders, to six years imprisonment for misappropriating Eastern Oil Company shares. “Leonid Nevzlin committed a crime of grand larceny. He committed that crime acting as a member of an organized criminal group headed by Mikhail Khodorkovsky,” the court ruling states. The court found that “Platon Lebedev, Vassily Aleksanyan and other individuals also participated in that group. Those individuals have been investigated and tried under a separate criminal case.” Since Leonid Nevzlin fled Russia and was placed on the international wanted list, he was tried in absentia.

After the verdict was announced, Nevzlin’s attorney Dmitry Kharitonov said he would appeal in the Moscow City Court. “Although that verdict will not affect my client, I am going to appeal it, because I consider it unlawful,” he said.

How they decided to convict Leonid Nevzlin under the Khodorkovsky case

In July 2012, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation announced that the criminal investigation of one of the major Yukos shareholders, Leonid Nevzlin, was completed. Their spokesman, Vladimir Markin said that, according to the investigators, in 1998 Leonid Nevzlin, acting as a member of an organized group, misappropriated 38 per cent of shares of Tomskneft VNK, Achinsk NPZ, and others for the total amount of over 3 billion roubles ($91 million). Earlier, the main Yukos shareholders, Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, were convicted under the same case and sentenced to 13 years in prison, as well as the Executive Officer of Yukos, Ramil Burganov.

What were the charges against Leonid Nevzlin?

According to investigators, from 1998 until 2002 the members of the organized group directed by Nevzlin committed three murders. The former Yukos shareholder was accused of organizing the attempted murders of the former Rosprom CJSC executive Sergei Kolesov, the former Chief of the Moscow Mayor’s Office PR Department Olga Kostina, and one of the executives of East Petroleum Handels Ges, GmbH, an Austrian oil company. In 2008, the Moscow City Court tried Leonid Nevzlin in absentia and sentenced him to life in prison for organizing murders and attempted murders. The decision was upheld by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation.