The Prosecutor General's Office has said it wants to detain Khodorkovsky until 30 December. When the court gives its ruling on Tuesday, few expect it to agree to the request to release him on bail.

   

"News is unlikely to be a major surprise," said Konstantin Sharapov, a trader at Alfa Bank.

   

The hearing is due to start at 1300 GMT.

 

Conflict

   

The conflict between the Kremlin and YUKOS erupted in July, when police arrested one of YUKOS's key shareholders Platon Lebedev. Khodorkovsky was arrested on 25 October and a few days later prosecutors also impounded a major stake in YUKOS

belonging to Khodorkovsky and his allies.

   

Analysts say the move has been orchestrated by the Kremlin to punish the billionaire for his political activities and support for liberal opponents of President Vladimir Putin in advance of parliamentary and presidential elections this and next year.

 

The conflict between Khodorkovsky and the Kremlin, which is seen as behind the detention of the oil tycoon, has shaken confidence among investors in Russia and triggered concerns it may signal a rise in state interference in business.