June 1, 2005
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former controlling shareholder of erstwhile Russian oil giant OAO Yukos, finally received his sentence after a Russian court spent ten days reading its decision. He was sentenced to nine years in prison for fraud, tax evasion, and embezzlement, and ordered to pay $613 million back taxes and fines (see International Herald Tribune story here). International businesses with an interest in investing in Russia watched the case closely for signs that the Putin government may be turning against private enterprises, and the effect on foreign investments may be significant -- although it is awfully hard to resist all the Russian oil with prices at $50 per barrel. Tom Kirkendall on the Houston's Clear Thinker blog has an interesting post on the sentence and a comparison with the 24 year sentence given to Jamie Olis in the Dynegy case (here).
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