[JURIST] Russian prosecutors have brought new money laundering charges [MBK statement; JURIST report] against former Yukos [corporate website] CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky [defense website; JURIST news archive], his lawyers said Monday. Khodorkovsky was convicted in May 2005 of tax evasion [JURIST report] and sentenced to eight years in prison. The Russian government effectively nationalized Yukos to pay off $33 billion in back taxes and Khodorkovsky's lawyers have insisted that legal actions against their client have been politically motivated.
Meanwhile, five lawyers representing Khodorkovsky and his business partner, Platon Lebedev [defense website], were detained at an airport in Moscow Sunday while they were on their way to visit their clients at a prison in the Siberian city of Chita [JURIST report]. Yuri Schmidt, one of Khodorkovsky's lawyers, said he and the other lawyers were held by police at the Domodedova airport for approximately one hour without being given any explanation. The lawyers were in route to Chita after being informed that prosecutors planned to file the new charges on Monday based on allegations that Khodorkovsky used his Open Russia Foundation [SourceWatch backgrounder] to funnel oil revenues away from Yukos. If convicted, Khodorkovsky could face an additional 15 years in prison, effectively ending his eligibility for parole this year. BBC News has more. AP has more.