04:12 GMT +321 October 2018
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    Khodorkovsky judges justify ruling at special news conference

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    Almost a month after a Moscow court threw out an appeal from jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the three judges that heard the case held an unprecedented news conference on Tuesday to justify their decision.

    Almost a month after a Moscow court threw out an appeal from jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the three judges that heard the case held an unprecedented news conference on Tuesday to justify their decision.

    Khodorkovsky, the former head of Yukos oil company, and his business partner Platon Lebedev were convicted of embezzlement and tax fraud and sentenced to an additional six years on top of their initial eight year sentence by a Moscow court in December 2010, subsequently commuted by one year.

    Their appeal against the sentence and second trial in Moscow was rejected in late May.

    Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were not prosecuted twice for the same crimes, so it was not a case of double jeopardy, said Federal Judge Yelena Arychkina, one of the three judges who reviewed Khodorkovsky and Lebedev's appeal.

    "As follows from the verdicts of Moscow's Meshchansky and Khamovniki district courts, these are two different verdicts, and both Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were convicted of different crimes," she said.

    "These verdicts have been deemed valid and are not subject to revision," the judge said.

    The Moscow city court has found no political background to Khodorkovsky and Lebedev's second case, said Vladimir Usov, head of the court board of appeals.

    "In their appeal, the defense contended among other things that there was a political subtext to this case; we have found no such motives," he said.

    The two men have rejected all charges against them, saying that they were revenge for Khodorkovsky's funding of opposition parties during the presidency of Vladimir Putin, an accusation the Russian authorities vehemently deny.

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