Ex-YUKOS lawyer Lechbinskaya gets 8 years in absentia in Russia
MOSCOW, July 15 (RAPSI) – Natalia Lechbinskaya, an ex-lawyer for defunct oil giant YUKOS, has been convicted of fraud, sentenced in absentia to eight years in prison and fined 400,000 rubles (over $11,600), RAPSI learned in the Gagarinsky District Court of Moscow Tuesday.
Lechbinskaya was charged with a large scale fraud allegedly committed by a criminal group, money laundering and embezzlement. The investigation into the alleged fraud was initiated in 2008 when Russia’s Investigative Committee filed a request to bring the lawyer to justice.
The request was granted by a Zamoskvoretsky District Court of Moscow, and the ruling was later upheld by an appeals court. An international arrest warrant was issued against Lechbinskaya who left Russia in 2009.
The YUKOS case has been one of the most high profile in Russia in recent years. In the early 2000s, authorities accused YUKOS CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his partner Platon Lebedev of economic crimes. The arrests and trials of a number of other company members soon followed. YUKOS, then the country's largest oil company, was declared bankrupt on August 1, 2006.