Bodyguard files $350,000 claim against ex-Yukos official

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MOSCOW, May 27 (RIA Novosti) - A former bodyguard filed a compensation claim Tuesday for eight million rubles ($350,000) against ex-Yukos official Leonid Nevzlin, wanted in Russia for attempted murder and currently living in Israel.

The compensation claim was filed with the Moscow City Court by Alexei Ivanov, a former bodyguard of businessman Yevgeny Rybin, who twice survived attempts on his life, allegedly ordered by Nevzlin.

"I would like to file a lawsuit against Nevzlin for compensation for damage inflicted on my health," Ivanov said adding that the sum of eight million rubles includes compensation both for physical and moral damage.

Nevzlin immigrated to Israel in 2003 following the arrest of several Yukos officials, including CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was Russia's richest man at the time. Khodorkovsky was sentenced to an eight-year prison term in Siberia for stealing government shares, illegal oil trading, and laundering $25 billion earned from oil sales in 1998-2004.

Investigators claim that between 1998 and 2002, members of an organized criminal group headed by Nevzlin killed, among others, businesswoman Valentina Korneyeva and the mayor of the Siberian oil town of Neftyugansk, Yury Petukhov.

Prosecutors said Nevzlin was also behind several attempted murders. They allege he gave direct instructions to the former chief of Yukos security, Alexei Pichugin, to organize and carry out attacks. Pichugin is serving life in prison in Russia for murder and attempted murder, including trying to kill businessman Rybin. He has maintained he is innocent.

Russia has been pressing Israel to extradite Nevzlin for murder. The businessman, who earlier publicly said he was willing to spend time and money opposing the Kremlin following the conviction of Khodorkovsky, has denied the charges, saying the case against him is political.

Once Russia's largest oil producer, Yukos collapsed after claims of tax evasion, which led to the company being broken up and sold off to meet debts. The bulk of the company's assets were bought up by government-controlled oil company Rosneft, making it Russia's largest crude producer.

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