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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Khodorkovsky Expects to Spend Life in Jail

Jailed former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky said in an interview over the weekend that he expects to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Khodorkovsky, who is serving an eight-year sentence for tax evasion, faces an additional 22 years in prison if convicted of embezzling all the oil that Yukos pumped from 1998 to 2003 — worth $27 billion — in a second trial that began in March.

“They’re doing everything they can to keep me in jail until I die,” Khodorkovsky, 46, told the German magazine Focus in an interview published Saturday.

Khodorkovsky said he does not believe that Russian courts are acting in the interest of justice in his trial.

“Russian courts won’t be independent for a very long time,” he said, adding that pledges by President Dmitry Medvedev to wipe out “legal nihilism” in Russia cannot be trusted.

Khodorkovsky said he expected to remain in prison because he believed his fate was in the hands of the siloviki, a group of defense and security officials close to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Putin, he said, harbors an “instinctive mistrust of the pro-Western part of Russia’s business elite.”

He said Yukos’ economic success and the liberal orientation of its ­management brought the company down.

Yukos was the country’s largest oil company when Khodorkosky was arrested in 2003.

Khodorkovsky’s supporters condemned the first trial in 2005 as a politically motivated sham. They say Khodorkovsky fell out with the Kremlin after funding the opposition, speaking out against corruption and making plans to build an oil pipeline outside the state’s control.