Basmanny court considers extending Khodorkovsky's imprisonment

On Tuesday, the Moscow Basmanny court will resume considering the possibility of extending former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky's time in prison.

Genrikh Padva, Mr. Khodorkovsky's lawyer, said that on Monday the prosecutor presented the reasons for the investigation to the court, and insisted on extending Mr. Khordorkovsky's imprisonment to March 25, 2004. The state prosecutor referred to the grave nature of the charges and said that if released, Mr. Khodorkovsky may disappear or influence witnesses.

Mr. Khodorkovsky's lawyers insisted that he be released from prison.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky was detained on October 25 at Novosibirsk Airport in Tolmachevo (Siberian Federal District). He was then brought to Moscow where the Basmanny court sanctioned his arrest until December 30.

The Prosecutor General's Office accuses Mr. Khodorkovsky under seven articles of the Criminal Code, including theft of property of great value through fraud in an organized group and tax evasion. According to the investigation, the sum of the damage inflicted by Mr. Khodorkovsky's actions amounts to more than $1 billion.

The defendant maintains his innocence. On November 3, he resigned as CEO of Yukos.

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