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Moscow court sets date for hearings in ex-Yukos officials' case

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MOSCOW, April 27 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow district court will hold hearings behind closed doors in a fraud case involving former Yukos officials on June 9, a court official said Thursday.

"The court resolved to hold closed hearings on a criminal case against Antonio Valdes Garcia, the former director of Yukos trading company Fargoil; Vladimir Malakhovsky, former director general of Ratibor LLC; and Vladimir Pereverzin, former Yukos deputy director for external debt," a Basmanny court official said.

Pereverzin is charged with money laundering and embezzlement of 248 billion rubles ($9.05 billion), and Malakhovsky with embezzlement totaling 7.5 billion rubles ($273.82 million). Valdes Garcia is suspected in involvement in a money-laundering scheme.

Investigators say the ex-Yukos officials masterminded a scheme to sell crude oil through companies under their control, acting both as fictitious owners and buyers. Prosecutors claim that the defendants embezzled a total of $13 billion.

Both Pereverzin and Malakhovsky were arrested in December 2004 and are currently held in prison. Valdes Garcia, who holds dual Spanish-Russian citizenship, was arrested at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport upon arriving in Russia on June 10, 2005, and is prohibited from leaving the country.

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