Guilty verdict hinted at for Yukos boss

A Moscow court has begun the second day of reading the verdict in the politically charged trial of oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

    Khodorkovsy (R) was, until recently, Russia's richest man

    The lengthy verdict process began on Monday and it was not clear when it would be completed. But observers said phrasings in the early part of the reading indicated that he would be found guilty on charges including fraud and tax evasion.

    The court called a break about 45 minutes into Tuesday's reading.
     
    Police increased security outside the court, erecting crowd barriers and metal detectors on both sides of the street and stopping passing cars for inspection.

    As Khodorkovsky's parents were waiting for admission to the courthouse, reporters asked what they expected from the day.

    "Tell me what's good here," Boris Khodorkovsky responded, indicating the police officers lining both sides of the street.

    Demonstrations

    About 100 anti-Khodorkovsky demonstrators carried placards bearing slogans such as: "Khodorkovsky, return our money," reflecting the resentment among many Russians of business people such as Khodorkovsky, who became enormously wealthy in the 1990s economic free-for-all, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    A pro-Khodorkovsky demonstration outside the court a day earlier was forcefully dispersed by police.

    Sergei Mitrokhin, a liberal politician who said he was detained and beaten in that incident, said Tuesday's demonstrators had been seen leaving the Federal Security Service headquarters in Moscow in the morning, implying their demonstration had official recognition.

    Khodorkovsky was delivered to a side entrance in an armoured van, out of public view. The reading of the verdict could still take days to complete, but the judge's words on Monday already left little doubt that Russia's one-time richest man would be found guilty on all charges, his lawyers said. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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