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The Ingodinsk court in Chita, East Siberia, will announce on Friday
The Ingodinsk court in Chita, East Siberia, will announce on Friday its decision in Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky's parole hearing.

Khodorkovsky is currently serving an eight-year term for fraud and tax evasion.

The ruling will be announced at 17:00 local time (7:00 GMT).

The court failed to reach a decision on Thursday after prison representatives gave conflicting character references for Khodorkovsky.

Lawyers for Khodorkovsky, who headed what was once the country's largest oil company, filed an appeal on July 16 requesting the former oligarch's early release.

The move to seek parole for Khodorkovsky came after the election of President Medvedev in March and his subsequent statement that the ex-businessman, once Russia's richest person, could eventually be pardoned.

In early July, Russian prosecutors charged Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev, also serving an eight-year jail term for fraud and tax evasion, of laundering $28.3 billion and stealing oil between 1998 and 2004.

Both men were transferred in December 2006 from prison to a pre-trial detention center where they have been remanded until November 2.

Both Khodorkovsky, 45, and Lebedev, 41, have maintained their innocence, with Khodorkovsky claiming his conviction was motivated by his support of Russia's opposition movement.


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