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Russian Court Orders Khodorkovsky Partner’s Release in July 2013

Nov. 1 (Bloomberg) -- A Russian court ordered the release next July of Platon Lebedev, a partner of former Yukos Oil Co. owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

A district court judge in the Arkhangelsk region city of Velsk, where Lebedev is imprisoned, shortened his 13-year jail term to 10 years, Khodorkovsky’s defense team said on its website today. The ruling won’t be appealed, according to Lebedev’s lawyer, Vladimir Krasnov. The same court cut his sentence by three years and four months on Aug. 8, a decision that was overturned by a regional court in September.

Lebedev, 55, and his associate Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man and chief executive officer of Yukos, were sentenced to eight-year terms for fraud and tax evasion in 2005 and convicted again on related charges in December 2010. Their sentences were extended to 13 years from their arrest in 2003.

“We see gaps in the court’s ruling but are not going to appeal against it as we don’t want to give rise to any bureaucratic delays again,” Krasnov said by phone from Velsk. The ruling will come into force in 10 days if it isn’t appealed, Krasnov said.

The court’s decision is a result of changes in the criminal code, introduced by then-President Dmitry Medvedev, that eased penalties for economic crimes, according to Krasnov.

“His liberal law came into force and it would a bit too much for the courts not to implement it,” Krasnov said.

Lebedev was convicted under some articles of the criminal code that weren’t softened by the legislative changes, judge Nikolai Raspopov was cited as saying by Interfax.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stepan Kravchenko in Moscow at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at

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