MOSCOW, September 17 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow's Meshchansky district court carries on hearings on the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Platon Lebedev and Andrei Krainov. A key witness for the prosecution was questioned today.

Tenghiz Khakhva is vice-president of the Russian Federal Property Fund. The defense applied for a break in the session, yesterday, to prepare for the questioning of that prime witness.

Khakhva's courtroom statement concerned allegedly illegal acquisition of Apatite Co. 20% block. The execution of a court writ to reinstate to the government the block, then held by Volna Co., had been suspended by the time he was appointed to his current post, pointed out the witness. "The Arbitration Court verdict was never executed-Volna was no longer on the stockholders' list, so there was no way to confiscate its block."

The Federal Property Fund appealed to a prosecutor and the federal government with indirect damage done the state in the affair. The prosecutor advised to bring a suit in the Arbitration Court. After the fund did so, it made a transaction with Volna, which accordingly paid the fund more than 15 million dollars as it could no longer restore the block. The fund then appealed to the government to estimate resultant damages. A calculation method was elaborated but never approved, said the witness.

The defense read to court Mr. Khakhva's written message to the federal Prosecutor General's office. The message specified alleged damages to the state, calculated on the methods the witness referred to in courtroom. In fact, the Volna transaction payment exceeded the calculated sum fourfold, stresses Timofei Gridnev, one of the lawyers of Platon Lebedev, Menatep bank president.

The defense did not see whatever proof of Khodorkovsky's guilt in Tenghiz Khakhva's statement. What the witness mentioned was mere missed profit, which is outside the criminal law, said Genrikh Padva, lawyer of the former Yukos proprietor, as he was addressing newsmen.

Another witness questioned today was Oleg Khvostikov, former Menatep economic expert.

As the prosecution has it, Mikhail Khodorkovsky led a criminal team to pass a 20% Apatite block to Volna Co., which was in his control, and on to other commercial companies under his supervision. He was managing the block via those companies in 1998 through 2002, even after the Arbitration Court ordered the block restored to the original holder. So the prosecution accuses Khodorkovsky of deliberate non-compliance with a court verdict after it entered into force.

As the indictment has it, the transaction made under Khodorkovsky's and Lebedev's supervision was invalid as it proceeded from an unreliable report by a VS Otsenka Co. appraiser, who established the block market price at $15,130,000, while it actually amounted to $62 million, as of October 1, 2002.

Khodorkovsky is thus suspected of masterminding deliberate non-compliance by a commercial company employee with a court verdict after it entered into force. Russia's Criminal Code offers the definition of the crime in Article 315, Item 33, Point 3.

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