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    COURT LEAVES MIKHAIL KHODORKOVSKY IN CUSTODY UNTIL MAY 25

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 19 (RIA NOVOSTI) - The Basmanny court of Moscow has prolonged the term of keeping Mikhail Khodorkovsky in custody until May 25, satisfying the appeal of the prosecutor's office.

    Public prosecutor Valery Lakhtin said that otherwise the ex-head of Yukos may escape prosecution, bring pressure to bear on witnesses or continue his criminal activities.

    In the course of court hearings, Lakhtin recalled that the term of investigation into the case has been prolonged until May 30. At the present time, materials of the case are being studied.

    According to the prosecutor, Khodorkovsky has studied 188 out of the 227 volumes and his lawyers, 4 to 84 volumes of the case.

    Lakhtin said that the majority of the incriminated crimes are ranked as grave. "This criminal case is very complicated and involves 11 people, most of whom are on a wanted list, including international," said the prosecutor.

    The Basmanny court issued the arrest warrant for Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky on October 25, 2003.

    The Prosecutor General's Office has charged him on seven articles of the Russian Criminal Code, such as large-scale theft of property by means of fraud as a member of an organized group; on-fulfillment of the court decision that entered into force, by representatives of a commercial organization; large-scale tax evasion; repeated forgery of official documents; embezzlement of property.

    Being under arrest, Khodorkovsky resigned as the head of the Yukos company.

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