Russian Finance Minister: I believe in Khodorkovsky's innocence

'For me Khodorkovsky is innocent, as he has still not been proven guilty,' Alexei Kudrin told journalists at the conference Russia-Italy: a business partnership in Milan. 'I believe that only the court can reach a final decision on the YUKOS affair. Such incidents strengthen Russia's judicial system as they are subject to public scrutiny and control,' the Russian finance minister said.

Mr Kudrin also said that the implementation of Russian legislation will mean that Russia is able to protect businessmen in future, whether they are Russian or foreign. 'There can not be any stability unless people are forced to take responsibility for their actions,' Mr Kudrin said.

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