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Next Khodorkovsky Show Trial Timed for the Elections?

Here’s an interesting translation of some news from Vedomosti about the upcoming second show trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, which due to some unexpected changes and willful delays by the Investigation Committee, could take place right during the presidential elections:

Second Khodorkovsky trial could be timed to coincide with presidential election A sudden freak change has occurred in the so-called second “case” of the embattled ex-oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The Investigation Committee under the Prosecutor-General’s Office is in no hurry to take the matter to law although it finished the investigation a long time ago. An unnamed source at the Prosecutor-General’s Office said: “the case is ready to be taken to court, but is lingering in the Investigation Committee. For some unknown reason it is not being handed over to the prosecutor’s office for approval.”

“The case is all sewn up, and the co-accused have even read it, but for some reason the investigation period has been extended again, to March 2,” Yury Shmidt, the oligarch’s lawyer, said, puzzled. “I just cannot understand what else they are doing with it.”The Prosecutor-General’s Office announced it was launching a new case against former Yukos head Khodorkovsky and Menatep head Platon Lebedev in January 2005, during the first trial. The period of investigation had been extended twice, but it was not until December 2006 that the new charges were made public against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev. On February 5, 2007 they were formally accused of embezzling over 850 billion rubles.Prosecutors decided to conduct a preliminary investigation in Chita, where Khodorkovsky and Lebedev had been transported under guard from the prisons where they were serving time.But both appealed against the decision, saying the investigation must be conducted in Moscow, where they are alleged to have committed their crimes.The Basmanny Court, followed by the Moscow City Court, agreed with their reasoning and rescinded the prosecutors’ order. But the prosecutors filed a protest with the Supreme Court of Russia, which repealed all previous decisions and sent the matter back for further inquiry.Perhaps that is the reason why the Investigation Committee is not rushing to bring the matter into court: what if Themis’ servants admit again the investigation in Chita was unlawful? For, as Shmidt explained, “non-competence of investigating agencies, if established, could render nul all evidence gathered on a case.”However, the lawyer said it was pure speculation: “We are not even contemplating it.”There may be another version: the investigators themselves are not happy with their results and are now bringing the case up to scratch.There is also a third suggestion: they plan to bring one of the most high-profile cases to the court just ahead of the presidential ballot.