[JURIST] The vice president of Russian oil giant Yukos [corporate website], Vasily Aleksanyan, has been charged by Russian prosecutors with embezzling company funds and laundering money. Aleksanyan, who only took over as Yukos VP on Tuesday, headed up Yukos legal department before taking on the task of protecting the companys assets and the interests of both creditors and shareholders in the face of continuing litigation and scandal. Authorities searched Aleksanyans residences on Wednesday and Aleksanayans defense lawyer announced Thursday that Russian authorities had taken Aleksanyan into custody [RIA Novosti report].
As lead counsel for Yukos, Aleksanyan represented several former Yukos officers charged with malfeasance, most notably Mikhail Khodorkovsky [MosNews profile; JURIST news archive] in his trial and his appeal [JURIST report]. Khodorkovsky, who was convicted [JURIST report] last year and sentenced to an 8-year prison term for tax fraud and evasion, has alleged that the Kremlin instigated his prosecution in order to quell his growing financial and political influence. MosNews has more.