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Court upholds ex-Yukos CEO Khodorkovsky 8-yr sentence

MOSCOW, May 3 (RIA Novosti) - The Moscow City Court again upheld Wednesday an eight-year prison sentence given to Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky for fraud.

"The reply to our appeal says that there is no reason to review the verdict," said Khodorkovsky's lawyer Genrikh Padva.

Padva said the defense had already appealed with the Supreme Court of Russia, the highest court in the Russian judiciary.

"We have appealed with the Supreme Court on the same grounds: we are asking for the sentence to be overturned as [it is] illegal and unsubstantiated," Padva said.

The defense had appealed to the chairman of the Moscow City Court after a less senior judge had upheld the verdict.

"The judge of the Moscow City Court refused to review proceedings when we appealed, without citing a single reason," Padva said.

In May 2005, the Meshchansky Court of Moscow handed down a nine-year prison sentence for Khodorkovsky, 42, and his business associate Platon Lebedev, the former head the Menatep Group. In September, the Moscow City Court reduced the prison term to eight years.

Another Khodorkovsky associate, Andrei Krainov, received a suspended five-year sentence.

Khodorkovsky and Lebedev are now in separate jails in Siberia.