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The court exaggerated my role in the crimes of which I was found guilty, Svetlana Bakhmina said.
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Aug. 25, 2006
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Court Turns Down an Appeal of YUKOS Ex-Lawyer
The Moscow City Court has rejected an appeal to overturn the prison sentence for YUKOS employee Svetlana Bakhmina. The convicts lawyers asked to release Bakhmina under an amnesty. The court, however, only reduced her 7-year prison sentence to 6 ½ years in prison. Svetlana Bakhmina is eligible for an option of deferment to serve the sentence when her two children turn 14.
In April, Simonovksy Court in Moscow sentenced Svetlana Bakhmina, deputy head of YUKOS legal department, to seven years in prison for tax evasion and embezzling some $290 million of assets of Tomskneft, a subsidiary of YUKOS.

Svetlana Bakhminas lawyer Alexander Gofshtein started his speech by referring to a current amnesty. The verdict did not explain why the amnesty cannot be used while it has been applicable since 2001 for women with young children, he said. The lawyer pointed out that the crime had no aggravating circumstances. Gofshtein also dismissed the claime that Bakhmina gained personal profits from assets of Tomskneft: Other evidence against it is that her family still lives in a two-room flat, 50 square meters in size.

In addition, the assets were returned to Tomskneft in 2002. Moreover, a representative of Tomskneft said at court there was no seizure and they had no claims against the defendant, Gofshein said. Yesterday, a representative of Tomskneft confirmed again that the company had recalled a suit on
damages as the seizure did not happen. Tomskneft declines to call itself an injured party.

Alexander Gofshtein also said the court equated the rank-and-file employee Bakhmina with the convicted organizers of the crimes. Yukos founders Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev got seven years on this count.

The court exaggerated my role in the crimes of which I was found guilty, Svetlana Bakhmina said.

The defense lawyer reiterated that Svetlana Bakhminas children, aged five and nine, had lived without the mother for two years already.

Prosecutor Nikolay Vlasov said that he considers the sentence fair and called the appeals biased.

The court threw out tax evasion charges as the statue of limitations had expired. It also took out a reference to an active part that the accused allegedly took in the crimes. The sentence was reduced from 7 years to 6 ½ years, two of which the defendant had already served during the investigation. The judge said that Bakhmina can apply for the deferment of the sentence since she has underage children.

The defendants attorney say Svetlana Bakhmina is likely to use this option and join her family. Should the court satisfy her application, YUKOS lawyer will be at large until her sons turn 14. After this, she will have to serve the sentence.


All the Article in Russian as of Aug. 25, 2006

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