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    Khodorkovsky, Lebedev found guilty of embezzlement in second trial (Update 1)

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    Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev were declared guilty by judge Victor Danilkin at the culmination of their second new trial in Moscow's Khamovniki court on Monday.

    Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev were declared guilty by judge Victor Danilkin at the culmination of their second new trial in Moscow's Khamovniki court on Monday.

    The Khamovniki court said Khodorkovsky and Lebedev had headed an organized group committing financial crimes in Russia's oil business via their oil company Yukos.

    "The court has established that Khodorkovsky and Lebedev have appropriated property using their staff positions," Judge Danilkin said.

    Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were accused of embezzling 218 million tons of oil from Yukos and laundering over 3 billion rubles ($97.5 million) in revenues.

    The court said it dropped some of the charges against the former Yukos head and his business partner because the statute of limitations expired, but did not provide details.

    The two men face up to seven more years in jail, though a sentence has not yet been handed down. Both defendants have repeatedly maintained their innocence and claimed that the charges against them were part of a political vendetta.

    The two convicts have already spent seven years behind bars for tax evasion in a related trial. Their prison terms were due to expire in 2011.

    The Khamovniki court called off the live broadcast of the verdict announcement for the press, preventing over 100 journalists from covering the event.

    The defense for Khodorkovsky and Lebedev earlier said prosecutors could press a third set of charges against the ex-Yukos executives in the near future.

    When asked about the Khodorkovsky case during his question-and-answer session on December 16, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said: "I think that a thief should be in jail."

    The verdict announcement was originally due to begin on December 15, but the court suddenly postponed it until December 27 without any explanation.

    MOSCOW, December 27 (RIA Novosti)

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