Parole hearing for Russia s tycoon

August 4, 2008

, MOSCOW, August  4 – A Russian court will hold a parole hearing for jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky on August 21, following an appeal filed by his lawyers, RIA Novosti news agency reported Monday, citing a court judge.

Khodorkovsky, once Russia\’s richest man, is serving out an eight-year prison sentence in eastern Siberia for financial crimes committed while he was the chief executive of Yukos, a giant oil company that is now bankrupt.

"The court will examine Mikhail Khodorkovsky\’s request for his release on parole on August 21," Igor Falileyev, a judge at the Ingodinsky court in the city of Chita, some 6,500 kilometres (3,700 miles) east of Moscow.

But the tycoon\’s mother, Marina Khodorkovskaya, who visited him in his remote Chita prison on July 31, told Russian magazine The New Times in an interview published on Monday he had little hope of being released on parole.

"I don\’t think he believes he will get parole. It was uncomfortable to talk about this at our meeting…. I hear and see everything that\’s in the press but it\’s just talk," she said, referring to rumours that he could be released.

Khodorkovsky\’s lawyers said he applied for parole last month in the hope that President Dmitry Medvedev might prove more liberal than his predecessor Vladimir Putin, who targeted Yukos with a series of investigations.

Khodorkovsky, who is 45, has been in detention since 2003.

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