Khodorkovsky associate Lebedev freed after Russian court ruling

By REUTERS
January 24, 2014 22:47

 
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MOSCOW - Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky's business partner Platon Lebedev walked free on Friday after more than 10 years in prison, following in his better-known associate's footsteps after the Russian Supreme Court shortened his sentence.

Lebedev, whose arrest in 2003 foreshadowed Khodorkovsky's months later, had been the former Yukos oil company chief's co-defendant in two trials that President Vladimir Putin's critics called part of a politically charged campaign of revenge.

"Free!" Khodorkovsky's website said in a brief statement. "On Friday, Jan. 24 at 22:20 Moscow time, Platon Lebedev left the prison colony where he spent the last 2-1/2 of his 10-1/2 years in custody. He was met by relatives."

His release three months early from a remote jail in northern Russia came a month after Khodorkovsky was freed and flown to Germany following a surprise pardon from Putin, who is seeking to improve his image before the Sochi Olympics next month.

The Supreme Court on Thursday shortened Lebedev's sentence to time served.

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