We have written a number of blog posts about the arrest of Semyon Mogilevich, his alleged ties to the natural gas trade, and the subsequent trial. Today, we are shocked to read of his release from jail.
From the Financial Times, which also notes that such observation of pre-trial detention limits had never been observed for Mikhail Khodorkovsky:
A Moscow court has freed on bail Semyon Mogilevich, a suspected organised crime boss who is wanted by the FBI for alleged racketeering and fraud, 18 months after his arrest by armed commandos in Moscow on charges of tax fraud, the FT has learnt.
Mr Mogilevich’s lawyer in Israel, Zeev Gordon, saidthe court had freed Mr Mogilevich and an alleged associate, VladimirNekrasov, on bail because the terms under which they could be held indetention had expired.
“I spoke with him on Friday after he wasreleased. He is happy to be home,” Mr Gordon said. The lawyer said thecourt made the ruling after it sent the prosecutors’ tax fraud caseback to investigators claiming it needed more work. “There is noevidence against him,” he said.
Mr Mogilevich and Mr Nekrasovdeny the allegations. Mr Mogilevich’s lawyers in Russia could not bereached for comment yesterday.
The release of the two men, whowere arrested in January 2008, is unusual for Russian courts wheresuspects are often held in pre-trial detention long beyond the legalexpiry date of one year. Another high-profile prisoner, MikhailKhodorkovsky, the former Yukos tycoon, has spent 2½ years in detentionsince a second set of charges were brought against him in February2007, while the court case continues.