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Moscow court ruled Wednesday that the executive vice president of embattled oil company Yukos should remain in custody
A Moscow court ruled Wednesday that the executive vice president of embattled oil company Yukos should remain in custody. Defense lawyers had earlier appealed ruling by a lower court that sanctioned April 7 the arrest of Vasily Aleksanyan, who faces charges of embezzlement and money laundering. The defense said Aleksanyan could not remain in custody because their client's eyesight had seriously deteriorated during his term in a pre-trial detention center. "We requested an independent medical check up of the Yukos vice president," said Gevorg Dangyan, one of the defense lawyers. "He was examined by the detention center's doctors, but we have not been given the results of the examination." Another district court earlier ruled in favor of trying Aleksanyan, accused of embezzling $460 million from Yukos production unit Tomskneft and funds from other oil companies, and of laundering another $460.8 million through his personal account in a Swiss bank. If found guilty, Aleksanyan faces 10-15 years in jail. Prosecutors said earlier they wanted Aleksanyan to be remanded in custody because they feared he could flee the country and that he had attempted to do so already. They also said he could try to intimidate witnesses, destroy documents or hinder the investigation if he were released. They said Aleksanyan's associates - Leonid Nevzlin, Yukos core shareholder, currently living in Israel, and Dmitry Gololobov, head of Yukos-Moscow legal department - had fled and were on the international wanted list. Lakhtin said Aleksanyan could agree his testimony with Nevzlin and Gololobov, and therefore had to be kept in custody. Prosecutors also said a floppy-disk had been found in Gololobov's office that contained instructions about how to behave during an arrest, how to influence witnesses and an investigation, attract the interest of the press and escape punishment.
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