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Lawyers for ex-Yukos CEO wrap up fraud defense

[JURIST] Lawyers for Mikhail Khodorkovsky [BBC profile], the former CEO of Yukos [corporate website], concluded their defense of the oil magnate Friday before the three judge panel that has heard the trial for the past 10 months. Khodorkovsky [JURIST news archive], once Russia's richest man, has been fending off charges of fraud, embezzlement, and tax evasion, arguing that the case is a politically motivated effort by the Kremlin to halt his financing of political parties opposed to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Prosecutors have pushed for a 10 year prison sentence [JURIST report] for both Khodorkovsky and business partner Platon Lebedev for their involvement in the downfall of Yukos. Yukos, Russia's former energy giant, is currently being dismantled, as it recently failed to receive US court protection [JURIST report] against a $28 billion tax bill. It may take until the middle of May for a verdict in the case. Khodorkovsky's defense website has posted an update on today's trial proceedings. AP has more.

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