Russian prosecutors file new murder charges against former Yukos executive

Prosecutors filed new charges against a former Yukos executive Alexei Pichugin, who has already been sentenced to 20 years in prison for murder, and against his former boss Leonid Nevzlin, who is now in Israel.

Alexei Pichugin, once a top security officer for Yukos, has been accused of organizing the murder of the mayor of the Siberian city of Nefteyugansk in 1998.

In March, Moscow City Court sentenced Aleksey Pichugin, the former security chief of the oil company Yukos, to 20 years in maximum-security prison. The court found him guilty of murders and attempted murders.

When Pichugin was arrested in 2003, it was said, that Pichugin along with Leonid Nevzlin, a former Yukos top official, now a shareholder, were suspected in murdering a mayor of Nefteyugansk, Vladimir Petukhov in July 1998. The company provided around 70% of the Nefteyugansk's income and intended to turn it into Yukos's "capital". As the paper "Rossiyskiye Vesti" wrote then, the mayor desperately resisted it even after Yukos had slowed down its payments to the city's budget. Petukhov went on hunger strike demanding to bring a criminal action against Yukos's tax evasion and stop its interference into the city's policies. He also promised after the hunger strike (it lasted for a week) to obtain the cancellation of an investment credit for Yukos. Petukhov and his bodyguard were shot down on their way to office 10 days later. However, this episode wasn't charged against Yukos during the first trial of Pichugin.

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