Khodorkovsky Was Denied Right to a Fair Trial, Court Says




  • In World
  • 2020-01-14 12:37:40Z
  • By Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian businessman who spent nearly a decade in prison in Russia on what he said were politically motivated charges by the Kremlin, won a second victory at Europe's top human rights court.

The Russian trial judge's refusal to "allow the defense to examine prosecution and defense witnesses and to submit important expert or exculpatory evidence" violated Khodorkovsky's rights and those of his former business partner Platon Lebedev during their second trial in 2009 and 2010, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Tuesday.

The Strasbourg, France-based ECHR had in 2011 had previously ordered Russia to pay Khodorkovsky about $35,000 in damages for jailing him in "inhuman and degrading conditions" in 2005 around the time of his first conviction.

Khodorkovsky was arrested in 2003 as part of Russian President Vladimir Putin's crackdown on businessmen who gained control of Russia's resource wealth after the Soviet Union collapsed. Khodorkovsky has maintained his innocence, saying the cases against him and the oil firm Yukos that he had built are retribution for financing opposition parties, an accusation the Kremlin has denied.

Khodorkovsky was convicted in 2005 and sentenced to nine years in prison for fraud and tax evasion, in a case that was widely criticized by human rights activists including Amnesty International. From prison, he continued to campaign to help foster civil society in Russia. He was released in December 2013 by presidential pardon in the run-up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and now lives in London, where he continues to criticize the Kremlin and advocate for political change in Russia.

Khodorkovsky, 56, welcomed the European tribunal's verdict, which he said marked a defining moment in proving the illegality of the so-called Yukos affair.

While the court didn't back up the accusation that the prosecution of Russia's then-richest man was "purely political," it determined that "what the Russian authorities did to me and my colleagues didn't amount to a fair trial," Khodorkovsky said on Facebook.

Embezzlement Charges

Lebedev was freed from prison in January 2014 after also serving nearly a decade following his 2005 conviction for tax evasion and 2010 conviction on the same money-laundering and embezzlement charges. Lebedev is in Moscow and is barred from leaving Russia under the terms of his conviction.

He said he would provide comment once he's read the entire decision.

In Tuesday's ruling, however, the ECHR didn't find the Russian trial judge had violated independence and impartiality rules, nor had he broken the principle of presumption of innocence of the two defendants.

Russia's Justice Ministry expressed satisfaction with that outcome, noting that the ECHR didn't find "convincing proof" of a political motive in the case.

Meanwhile, Putin was let off the hook for negative comments the Russian leader made during the trial about Khodorkovsky and Lebedev, which the court said hadn't violated the presumption of innocence. Putin had mentioned the pair being possibly complicit in murders for which Yukos' head of security had been convicted, and made comparisons with convicted U.S. fraudster Bernie Madoff.

(Adds Khodorkovsky's reaction in sixth paragraph)

--With assistance from Henry Meyer and Irina Reznik.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hugo Miller in Geneva at hugomiller@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net, Peter Chapman, Gregory L. White

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Trump administration
Trump administration's probe of the Russia investigation may be nearing conclusion
  • US
  • 2020-08-05 20:16:00Z

The prosecutor in charge, Connecticut U.S. Attorney Durham, has asked to interview ex-CIA Director John Brennan, says a person familiar with the request.

Hezbollah Will Not Escape Blame For Beirut
Hezbollah Will Not Escape Blame For Beirut
  • World
  • 2020-08-05 11:50:00Z

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- As if the Lebanese haven't suffered enough. For months, they have been caught between an economic meltdown, crumbling public services, and a surging pandemic. Now they must count the dead and survey the extensive damage to their capital after two giant explosions on Tuesday.The blasts, especially the second, were so huge they were reportedly heard and felt in Cyprus. At least 100 people are reported to have been killed-that number will almost certainly rise-and thousands injured. A large expanse of the port and its immediate neighborhood lies in smoking ruin; miles away, streets are full of shattered glass.Prime Minister Hassan Diab's government says the explosions...

The Latest: Russia to send 5 planeloads of aid to Beirut
The Latest: Russia to send 5 planeloads of aid to Beirut
  • World
  • 2020-08-05 07:10:50Z

Russia's emergency officials say the country will send five planeloads of aid to Beirut after an explosion in the Lebanese capital's port killed at least 100 people and injured thousands on Tuesday. Russia's Ministry for Emergency Situations will send rescuers, medical workers, a makeshift hospital and a lab for coronavirus testing to Lebanon. International aid in the form of emergency workers and medical personnel is heading to Lebanon a day after a massive explosion devastated Beirut's port, killing at least 100 people and wounding thousands.

Amazon
Amazon's Market Power to Be Investigated by New York AG

(Bloomberg) -- Attorneys general from New York and California are partnering with the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Amazon.com Inc.'s online marketplace, according to people familiar with the matter, ratcheting up scrutiny of the world's largest e-commerce company.The three agencies will work

The Rich Still Want to Buy Their Ferraris
The Rich Still Want to Buy Their Ferraris

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The business of making Ferraris is doing embarrassingly well in the pandemic.Covid-19 has affected the production and delivery of luxury cars, but not demand from the wealthy to acquire them, as analysts have noted. The financial impact of the virus on Ferrari NV's performance is, for now, looking like only one quarter of lost earnings. Management has handled the crisis well.Revenue fell 42% year-on-year in the second quarter, with vehicle shipments dropping 48%, Monday's results revealed. Production slipped after factories were closed to protect workforces, and the shuttering of dealers hampered deliveries. The company decided against taking the axe to capital...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: World