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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Court Finds Yukos Executives Guilty of Embezzling $13Bln

Itar-TassVladimir Pereverzin being taken into Basmanny District Court on Thursday.
A Moscow court found two executives of bankrupt oil firm Yukos guilty of embezzling $13 billion on Thursday.

The court said Vladimir Malakhovsky, former head of Yukos affiliate Ratibor, and Vladimir Pereverzin, formerly director of Yukos' external debt department, had bought oil from Yukos subsidiaries at artificially low prices and then resold it.

A third defendant with dual Russian and Spanish nationality, Antonio Valdes Garcia, is on the run after escaping from his guards in January. One newspaper said he had locked his guards in his apartment and disappeared.

Media reports say he went to Spain at the start of the investigation but returned to Russia voluntarily to help police with their inquiries. Soon after returning, he was hospitalized with bruising and broken bones. The Interior Ministry said he had been involved in a road accident, one newspaper reported.

The case is one of a swath of legal proceedings against Yukos and its owners and employees, widely seen as a campaign to punish the firm's main shareholder, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, for having political ambitions.

He is serving eight years in a Siberian prison on fraud and tax evasion charges. Prosecutor General Yury Chaika has said Khodorkovsky will soon face new charges, which his lawyers say will be designed to keep him in prison indefinitely.

Yukos is to be broken up and sold off after being declared bankrupt last August. Officials hit the firm with $33 billion in back tax claims and paralyzed it by freezing its accounts.

Yukos was already forced the sale of the huge Yuganskneftegaz unit in December 2004. After an auction with only one bidder, the firm was sold on to oil firm Rosneft.