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Strasbourg court to hear Khodorkovsky's appeal in fall - minister

ST. PETERSBURG, July 13 (RIA Novosti) -The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights will consider a complaint from jailed Yukos founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky in the fall this year, the Russian justice minister said on Monday.

"We are preparing for the hearings, scheduled for the fall," Alexander Konovalov said.

Three appeals have been filed with the Strasbourg court against the trial in the first case and the investigation into the second case, which is ongoing while Khorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev serve eight-year sentences for fraud and tax evasion.

Their sentences could be extended by another 20 years if they are found guilty on the new charges of embezzlement, theft and money-laundering.

Once Russia's largest oil producer, Yukos collapsed after charges of tax evasion led to the company being broken up and sold off to meet debts. The bulk of the company's assets were bought up by state-run oil company Rosneft.

Yukos was declared bankrupt August 1, 2006, after three years of litigation with tax authorities over the company's tax arrears. The sum of creditors' claims to the company amounted to 430 billion rubles (about $12 billion at the current exchange rate).