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Geography Lesson at Trial

Former Yukos co-owner Platon Lebedev opened his testimony at his trial on money-laundering charges with a geography lesson for prosecutors, Interfax reported Monday.

Lebedev said prosecutors incorrectly stated in the case documents against him that the United States had an offshore banking zone in Ohio where he purportedly laundered money.

The documents identify the zone as “Gibraltar Island,” which is the name of an isle on Lake Erie in Ohio, while the actual offshore banking zone is located in the city of Gibraltar on the Iberian Peninsula, Lebedev said in court.

Lebedev and his former business partner Mikhail Khodorkovsky, already serving prison sentences on tax and fraud charges, are in the middle of a second trial on similar charges.

Lebedev’s lawyers said they expected his testimony to take about two weeks. 

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