Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business ally Platon Lebedev will remain in a pretrial detention cell until a verdict in a new trial against them is announced, the head of Russia's Penitentiary Service said on Tuesday.
"There is no use in transferring Lebedev and Khodorkovsky from the pretrial detention center where they are currently located. They will remain there until the verdict is announced," Alexander Reimer said.
Khodorkovsky and Lebedev, who have already spent seven years behind bars for tax evasion, are facing new charges of embezzling 218 tons of oil from Khodorkovsky's former oil firm Yukos and laundering over 3 billion rubles ($97.5 million) in revenues. If found guilty, the two men face could face another seven years in jail.
The verdict in the new trial is due to be announced on December 15.
Observers say the two men will most likely be found guilty as the Kremlin wants to keep them in jail for as long as possible.
MOSCOW, November 9 (RIA Novosti)