MOSCOW, March 21 - RAPSI, Maria Petrova. The Moscow City Court has rejected the supervisory complaint filed by Human Rights Commissioner Vladimir Lukin against the Meshchansky District Court's decision to collect around 17 million rubles (over $53,000) from former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his partner Platon Lebedev, the court told RAPSI on Thursday.
Lukin believes that the money was collected from the two businessmen illegitimately. He claims that damages were collected twice, during the criminal and the commercial hearings. He filed a complaint with the Moscow City Court's Presidium against the Meshchansky Courts 2005 ruling which allowed the Ministry of Taxes and Duties to collect around 17 million rubles of damages from Khodorkovsky and Lebedev, including taxes they had allegedly evaded.
The court examined Lukin's complaint and concluded that the Moscow Commercial Court had granted several requests from the ministry to collect around 98 billion rubles (over $3 billion) from Yukos a year before the verdict was handed down.
The Moscow City Court ruled that "the part of the sentence which concerns the Federal Tax Service's civil suit on collecting damages from Khodorkovsky and Lebedev was legal and substantiated."
The YUKOS case is one of the most high-profile cases in Russia in recent years. In the early 2000s, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were charged with economic crimes.
YUKOS, then the country's largest oil company, was declared bankrupt and its assets were taken over by Rosneft. Many in the West believe that the case was politically driven, although Moscow denies the charges. In 2005, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were sentenced to eight years in prison for fraud and tax evasion within the first YUKOS case.
In late 2010, the Khamovniki District Court sentenced them to 14 years in prison for stealing oil and laundering money as part of a second case. They were expected to be released in 2017, taking into account the time that they had served for the convictions handed down during their first trial.
Their sentences were later reduced by one year.On December 20, 2012, the Moscow City Court Presidium reduced their sentences from 13 to 11 years.