Court upholds transfer of Khodorkovsky associate to northern Russia jail

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MOSCOW, February 16 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow court upheld a decision Thursday to transfer a close associate of jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky to a penal colony in northern Russia, thereby rejecting a defense motion to move him to different location.

Platon Lebedev, the one-time chairman of Group Menatep, is serving an eight-year prison term in a colony in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area in the extreme north of Siberia.

Lebedev and his business partner Khodorkovsky were held in the Matrosskaya Tishina detention center for more than a year during court proceedings. In May 2005, a Moscow court found them guilty of tax evasion and large-scale fraud, and sentenced them to nine years in a low-security prison. On September 22, the Moscow City Court reduced their term to eight years.

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