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Yukos' Nevzlin Gets 6 Years for Embezzlement

Former major Yukos shareholder Leonid Nevzlin was sentenced in absentia to 6 years in prison on Monday after being found guilty of stealing shares from the Eastern Oil Company as part of an alleged criminal group "headed by Mikhail Khodorkovsky."

Moscow's Simonovsky Court found Nevzlin guilty of committing the crime as part of a group that supposedly also included Khodorkovsky's business partner, Platon Lebedev, former Yukos vice president Vasily Aleksanyan and other figures in the Yukos case, Kommersant reported.

The prosecution had asked for seven years imprisonment for Nevzlin, who fled Russia in 2003 when the Yukos case opened and has reportedly been living in Israel.

In July of last year, the Investigative Committee said that in 1998, Nevzlin embezzled 38 percent of the shares in Tomskneft, the Achinsky oil refinery and other assets belonging to Eastern Oil Company worth more than 3 billion rubles ($91.6 million).

Earlier, Yukos' main owners Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were convicted of the same charge and sentenced to 13 years in prison. The pair has been in jail since 2003 on those and other charges, which critics have called politically motivated.

Investigators have also accused Nevzlin of ordering three murders allegedly committed by members of the "organized criminal group" between 1998 and 2002, including the killing of a local mayor where the oil firm's biggest production unit was based.

In 2008, Moscow City Court sentenced Nevzlin in absentia to life imprisonment on charges of organizing a murder and attempted murder. The sentence was later upheld on appeal by the Supreme Court.

Nevzlin has denied the charges, saying he was the victim of "a show trial managed under the supervision of the Kremlin," and appealed to the European Court of Human Rights.

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