Russia's top prosecutor says former Yukos oil execs to face money laundering charges

Russia's top prosecutor said new money laundering charges would be filed against former executives of the bankrupt oil company OAO Yukos, Russian news agencies reported Tuesday.

Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika did not specify whom the charges might be brought against.

"New charges of money laundering and embezzlement will be brought," Chaika was quoted as saying by the RIA-Novosti news agency.

"We are working actively on Yukos," he said.

Last month, Yukos' founder and former top executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky was questioned on suspicion of being involved in money laundering after being moved from his Siberian prison camp to a regional detention center.

His lawyer Yuri Schmidt dismissed the allegations as politically motivated.

Yukos was bankrupted and partially nationalized in what was widely seen as a state campaign to punish Khodorkovsky for his presumed political aspirations and to tighten Kremlin control over Russia's oil riches.

Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man, is now serving an eight-year prison term on a fraud and tax evasion conviction in the camp near Chita, about some 5,000 kilometers (3,000 miles) east of Moscow, reports AP.

Chaika said prosecutors were working with former managers of the company, some of whom had returned to Moscow after fleeing the country in the wake of the government probe, which began in 2003.

"We are not giving anyone special guarantees. We are saying if you are guilty you will be punished by a court. But cooperation will serve you well," he was quoted by RIA-Novosti as saying.

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