07:10 GMT +311 December 2016
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    FORMER HEAD OF YUKOS-MOSCOW EXEMPTED FROM SERVING 12 MONTHS IN PRISON

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    MOSCOW, February 5 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow district court has sentenced Vasily Shakhnovsky, former head of Yukos-Moscow, to 12 months of imprisonment and exempted him from punishment immediately thereafter.

    The court ruled that charges of tax avoidance to the tune of over Rbs28.5 million (about $1 million) were justified. "But, in view of changes in the situation and extenuating circumstances, the court exempts Shakhnovsky from the punishment," said Judge Irina Kolesnikova.

    The court established that the businessman signed fictitious contracts on consultation services with foreign companies in order to avoid taxes. But the court noted that much time elapsed since Shakhnovsky had committed the crime, he no longer works in Yukos and has transferred the money to the Pension Fund. Besides, he has three minor children and a state order of the Badge of Honor, and provided positive character reports from his company and residential authorities.

    The businessman told journalists he had not expected the court to spare him.

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