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Gay claim by Khodorkovsky's ex-cellmate adjourned to Feb. 25

MOSCOW, January 16 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow court has adjourned until February 25, a 500,000-ruble ($16,500) suit filed by the former cellmate over a homosexual claim against jailed Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported on Friday.

Alexander Kuchma submitted a lawsuit against the ex-Yukos chief, sentenced to eight years in prison in 2005 for fraud and tax evasion, based on a homosexual incident which is supposed to have taken place three years ago.

According to the judge, Irina Makarova, the lawsuit was adjourned due to the fact that the court has no information on whether the plaintiff was properly informed that his case is currently being heard.

Kuchma's representatives failed to appear in court.

During the first session, the court also requested access to documentation concerning an investigation into an attack by Kuchma on Khodorkovsky which occurred in 2006 while they shared an isolation cell.

In April 2006, Khodorkovsky was placed in the isolation cell for eating food in an unauthorized area, and Kuchma was put in with him. During the period, Kuchma is reported to have attacked Khodorkovsky cutting his face with a sharp instrument.

Khodorkovsky's lawyers earlier said that the suit proves that the "criminal charges against

Khodorkovsky have reached a dead end and are about to fall to pieces." They described the allegations made by Kuchma as a "political project" and a "three-ring circus," and have requested the claim be dismissed.

A new criminal investigation against Lebedev and Khodorkovsky on separate charges of oil theft and money laundering was launched in early July.

Khodorkovsky's defense team said that Kuchma's lawyers "cannot prove any of their fabricated charges and are just desperate."

Legal proceedings launched against the now defunct oil company Yukos in 2003, seen by many as politically motivated, resulted in the conviction of many executives and shareholders, including the founder and CEO.

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