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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Khodorkovsky Judge Won't Allow U.S. Witness

The judge presiding over the second trial of former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky on Wednesday rejected a defense motion to summon U.S. citizen Bruce Misamore, the company's former chief financial officer.

The ruling by Judge Viktor Danilkin of the Khamovnichesky District Court came on the second day of the trial, in which Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev are charged with embezzling all the oil produced by Yukos from 1998 to 2003 and laundering about $20 billion from 1998 to 2004.

Misamore, who worked for several years as Yukos' CFO, is ready to answer investigators' questions but is hesitant to visit Russia for fear of arrest, Lebedev's lawyer, Konstantin Rivkin, told the court Wednesday. Prosecutors said they would not object to questioning Misamore eventually.

Misamore has been highly critical of the case against Khodorkovsky and Lebedev. After prosecutors announced the charges in 2007, Misamore defended Yukos' sales practices. "From what I know about the charges, they are 100 percent completely false, and they arise from the complete ignorance by the Russians of international accounting standard practice," he said at the time. "All of the transactions were conducted at a market price."

Khodorkovsky appeared in good spirits Wednesday, laughing and flashing smiles at his parents in court.