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Moscow's Meshchansky district court carries on hearings on the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Platon Lebedev and Andrei Krainov
Three witnesses for the prosecution were questioned today. Tatiana Rashina was, in 1994, first deputy chair of the Murmansk regional property fund. Nikolai Mukhayev was legal adviser to the fund in 1997. Tamara Ageyushkina is First Deputy Director General of the Apatit joint-stock fertilizer company, based in Murmansk, Russia's northwest. Ms. Rashina confirmed previous witness statements to say that a 20% Apatit block of shares was auctioned off in perfect compliance with the then acting legislation. The Volna joint-stock company offered bigger investment than any other bidder, and so won. The Menatep bank guaranteed the transaction, and Sergei Abramov, bank adviser, was representing it at the contest. As public prosecutor Dmitry Shokhin asked her whether the investment program had been fulfilled, the witness said not all targets were met, so the regional property fund brought an Arbitration Court suit to cancel the contract and have the Apatit stock back. The court verdict ordered the Volna to restore the stock to the government, and the regional property fund to restore the money received for it, said witness Mukhayev. The Volna no longer possessed the Apatit block at the time, and so restored its cost in money. Unlike it, the property fund failed to restore the sum as, by that time, its financing had come into regional competence, and to pay for federal property out of its own pocket was the last thing the Murmansk Region wanted to do, said Mr. Mukhayev. Ms. Ageyushkina was warranted by Apatit Trade Co. managers to sign reports and bills, which she did, she said to the court. More witnesses for the prosecution will be questioned tomorrow. Billionaires Khodorkovsky and Lebedev are suspected of fraud and tax evasion-both to huge sums. Their indictment involvesa total seven Criminal Code clauses.
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