[JURIST] An east Siberian court Friday ruled that former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky [defense website; JURIST news archive] should remain in custody for another three months in order to prevent him from obstructing a new investigation into Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev [defense website]. Russian prosecutors are investigating new charges [JURIST report] against the former Yukos Oil [corporate website] executives, which include stealing government shares, expropriating oil, and laundering over $25 billion. Lawyers for the men repeated previous calls that the men should be transferred from the Siberian penal colony in Chita Oblast [Wikipedia backgrounder] to Moscow, a call which Russian prosecutors have ignored [JURIST report], despite a March court order [JURIST report] that was upheld [JURIST report] in April.
Khodorkovsky was convicted of tax evasion [JURIST report] in May 2005, and is currently serving an eight-year prison term. The additional charges, filed against him in February 2007, are based on allegations that Khodorkovsky used his Open Russia Foundation [SourceWatch backgrounder] to divert oil revenues away from Yukos. If convicted on the new charges, Khodorkovsky faces an additional 15 years in prison. Both the United States and Khodorkovsky [JURIST reports] believe the new charges to be politically motivated, a claim which Russia has denied [JURIST report]. RIA Novosti has more. AP has additional coverage.