YUKOS' Lebedev faces more charges

Further charges against YUKOS co-owner Platon Lebedev were announced Tuesday by Russia's prosecutor general. On top of earlier charges, Lebedev is now accused in the theft of more than USD 30 million from sales of apatite concentrate. Lebedev faces charges under five sections of the Russian Criminal Code, including fraud, damage to property, failure to obey a court order and failure to pay taxes.

The prosecutor's office said its investigation was continuing on the matter of alleged unpaid taxes by companies controlled by YUKOS as well as of the criminal cases against Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Lebedev, Leonid Nevzlin and Vladimir Dubov.

Background: Lebedev, the head of MENATEP, was arrested in July 2003. He is accused of appropriating a 20% interest in the state company Apatit. Khodorkovsky was arrested on October 25, 2003, in Novosibirsk. Both are expected to remain in custody until March 30, 2004. On Monday, the media carried stories of an announcement by Nevzlin and Dubov, who hold stock in YUKOS and now are in Israel, of their willingness to give up their stock in MENATEP in exchange for the release of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev.

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