[JURIST] Russian prosecutors said Friday their case against former Yukos [corporate website] CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky [defense website; JURIST news archive] and his business partner, Platon Lebedev [defense website], is solely a criminal matter and not politically motivated. A spokesperson for the Prosecutor Generals Office [official website, in Russian] said Khodorkovsky wreaked "serious damage" upon the Russian economy. Last December, Khodorkovsky was transferred to a Siberian remand prison [JURIST report] for refusing to cooperate with authorities until he faced "concrete charges." He claims that his case is a scheme to silence his criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin [official profile].
The prosecution indicted Khodorkovsky and Lebedev Monday on new charges of embezzling and laundering $23-25 billion [JURIST report]. Khodorkovsky has condemned the indictment [JURIST report]. The two men are also accused of embezzling money from Yukos subsidiaries and laundering it through the Open Russia Foundation charity [SourceWatch backgrounder]. RIA Novosti has more.