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The Moscow City Court has finished an investigation into murder charges against the former security chief at the embattled Yukos oil company
The Moscow City Court has finished an investigation into murder charges against the former security chief at the embattled Yukos oil company, a lawyer said Monday. Alexei Pichugin, the former head of security at Yukos, is facing new charges of murder and attempted murder but pleaded not guilty on May 16. "On Tuesday, July 25, the judge will hear arguments from both sides in the case," said lawyer Ksenia Kostromina, adding the prosecutors would announce the verdict they were seeking for Pichugin and the other four defendants. Pichugin is already serving a 20-year-prison sentence after he was found guilty of two murders in 2002 and the attempted murder in 1998 of a former adviser to ex-Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Unlike Pichugin, the other defendants in the case have admitted their guilt on some of the charges: the attempted murder of businessman Andrei Rybin and murder of entrepreneur Valentina Korneyeva also in 1998. The Prosecutor General's Office brought the new charges against Pichugin last July. He is accused of murdering Korneyeva, the administration head of Siberian oil town of Neftyugansk, and the attempted murder of Rybin. Prosecutors also brought the same charges against Leonid Nevzlin, a Yukos core shareholder living in Israel after gaining citizenship, accusing him and Pichugin of killing people who posed danger to the company and them personally. "In all cases, Nevzlin gave direct orders to Pichugin on organizing murders and carrying them out," the Prosecutor General's office said. Nevzlin has been charged with fraud and involvement in a number of contract killings and was put on the international wanted list July 21, 2004. Israel has refused to extradite him to Russia.
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