A spokesman for oil tycoon Leonid Nevzlin on Thursday accused the Russian state prosecution of using "KGB methods" to politically persecute him by feeding official Russian government documents to an Israeli journalist, who is trying to have the multi-millionaire expelled from Israel and stripped of his Israeli citizenship.
"The Russian state prosecution, which is the executive arm of [President Vladimir] Putin, uses KGB methods by handing over documents to the private citizen Nudelman instead of working with the [Israeli] Ministry of Justice and other official government bodies as would be expected," Nevzlin's spokesman Amir Dan told The Jerusalem Post. "This underlines the fact that we are dealing here with political persecution and not a genuine judicial case."
In February, Russian-born journalist Yuli Nudelman petitioned the High Court of Justice to order the government to expel Nevzlin and strip him of his citizenship, charging that Nevlin had lied to Israeli immigration authorities, neglecting to inform them that there was a warrant for his arrest when he arrived here in July 2003. Nevzlin fled to Israel after Russian police summoned him to a second interrogation about the Yukos Oil Company, of which he was a top official.
Dan also pointed out that in December 2003 Jerusalem District Court Judge Zvi Segal ordered Nudelman to pay Natan Sharansky NIS 900,000 in damages for libelous charges he had made in a book called Sharansky Unmasked. Among other allegations, Nudelman claimed that Sharansky had been a KGB agent.
According to Dan, Nevzlin was a victim of political oppression by Putin, who was out to destroy the Yukos oil company because of the power it wielded and its support for liberal and reform movements.
Many Yukos executives fled from Russia in the wake of Putin's crackdown. Others, including the chairman of the company's board of directors, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, were arrested in Russia and sentenced to prison terms.
According to Dan, "[US President George] Bush, who recently had breakfast with Nevzlin, Western [institutions] including Amnesty, the European Parliament, the British courts and human rights organizations have all declared that the persecution of Khodorkovsky and Nevzlin is politically motivated and aimed at those who dare to oppose Putin and those who would harm Russian democracy."