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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Court Fails to Set a Trial Date for Lebedev

The Moscow City Court on Tuesday failed to set a date to begin hearings on the embezzlement charges leveled against Platon Lebedev, a core shareholder in embattled Group Menatep, even though the court's 10 working day deadline since the arrest had expired, company spokesman Yury Kotler said.

He said the court decided to hold hearings July 23 on a company appeal against Lebedev's arrest.

Lebedev was arrested July 2 on charges he stole a stake in fertilizer producer Apatit in 1994. Since then, Group Menatep's oil major Yukos has been targeted for suspected tax evasion and its headquarters were searched in an armed raid Friday.

Most of Russia's business community is waiting to see how the conflict will play out.

Leading members of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, the business elite's main lobbying arm, have said they fear the case could spark a wholesale review of the results of the skewed privatizations of the 1990s.

President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov have both recently spoken out against businessmen being jailed for economic crimes. But Putin qualified his remarks last Friday, saying that those crimes, nevertheless, had to be punished.

Meanwhile, the Moscow City Court on Tuesday refused to release the head of one of Yukos' security departments, Alexei Pichugin, who was arrested June 19 on charges he was behind two contract killings last year.