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Khodorkovsky defense asks court to return case to prosecutors


MOSCOW, April 24 (RIA Novosti) - Defense lawyers of jailed ex-Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev requested on Friday that the court return the case to the prosecutor's office.

"We would like once again to request the court to return the case to the prosecutor's office so that all obstacles for the court hearings are cleared and the charge sheet is re-compiled," lawyer Konstantin Rivkin said.

During the preliminary hearings into the case in March, the defense lodged a similar appeal, saying that several important documents were missing in the case.

The two men, who have been serving eight-year sentences for fraud and tax evasion since 2006, were transferred from a Siberian prison to a Moscow detention center to answer the fresh embezzlement and money laundering charges.

The new charges deal with the theft of government shares and the laundering of money earned from illegal oil sales, in total worth about $50 billion. If convicted, the two could see their jail terms extended by 21 years.

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