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Yukos lawyer convicted of embezzlement and tax evasion

[JURIST] Svetlana Bakhmina [advocacy website], a lawyer for the Russian oil company Yukos [corporate website; JURIST news archive], was convicted Wednesday of tax evasion and embezzlement for her part in a scheme to strip assets worth over $300 million from a Yukos subsidiary. Bakhmina was sentenced to seven years at a high-security penal colony. Bakhmina pleaded not guilty and argued that she acted on orders from her superiors at the company. Bakhmina's lawyers may ask that she be released under an amnesty program that applies to women with small children who are sentenced to terms of less than 10 years in prison. She has been in custody since her arrest in December 2004 despite calls for her release [JURIST report]. An appeal of the ruling is also planned.

This is the latest in a string of convictions against Yukos executives. Former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky [JURIST news archive; defense website] last year was sentenced to eight years [JURIST report] for tax fraud and evasion. AP has more. MosNews has local coverage.

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