Court Wants Khodorkovsky Report

A Siberian court has requested an evaluation of former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky's behavior in jail for consideration of his parole application, a court official said Thursday.

Chita's Ingodinsky District Court has requested the materials from the Chita pretrial detention facility where Khodorkovsky is being held, court official Maxim Solovyov said by telephone.

Khodorkovsky, who was sentenced to eight years in prison after a Moscow court convicted him of fraud and tax evasion, became eligible for parole in October 2007 after serving half his sentence. He applied for release last week.

Khodorkovsky is being held in pretrial detention on a second series of charges, which were brought in February 2007, accusing him of large-scale embezzlement and money laundering.

The court will set a date for Khodorkovsky's parole hearing only after it has received all the materials from the detention facility, Solovyov said.

Meanwhile, the Argumenty Nedeli newspaper reported Thursday that Khodorkovsky's representatives are negotiating a possible parole with Alexander Voloshin, who quit as presidential administration head in 2003 after disagreeing with then-President Vladimir Putin over Khodorkovsky's arrest.

The report, which cited no sources, described Voloshin as an "unofficial adviser" to President Dmitry Medvedev.

Should he be released, Khodorkovsky would not be allowed to make any political statements or leave the country, according to the negotiations, Argumenty Nedeli reported.

Khodorkovsky's lawyer, Yury Shmidt, said by telephone from St. Petersburg on Thursday that he could neither confirm nor deny the report but that such conditions would not be "degrading" for his client.

"I would not at all be opposed if indeed the question of Khodorkovsky's parole would be decided on such a level," Shmidt said.