COURT FINDS LEBEDEV GUILTY OF TAX EVASION AS A PHYSICAL PERSON

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MOSCOW, May 26 (RIA Novosti) - The Meshchansky Court has found Platon Lebedev, the head of the Menatep group, guilty of evading taxes as a physical person, a RIA Novosti correspondent reports from the courtroom.
     


     According to Article 198 of the Russian Criminal Code, Lebedev thereby faces up to three years of imprisonment for failing to pay about seven million rubles (roughly $249,643) in taxes in 1999-2000.
    
     The judge has been reading the verdict on the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former Yukos CEO, Lebedev, and Andrei Krainov, the former director general of the Volna closed JSC, for nine days now.
    
     Traffic remains partially blocked for 300 meters on both sides of the court building in Kalanchevskaya Street, northeastern part of central Moscow. Only public transport is allowed to pass. About 500 police officers are guarding the area sealed off with metal barriers.
    
     The participants in the proceedings have been allowed to sit while the verdict is read out.
    
     In their closing statement, the prosecutors requested a ten-year sentence for Lebedev and Khodorkovsky each, and a suspended sentence of 5.5 years with a five-year testing period for Krainov after he pleaded guilty on some charges.

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