The presidium of the Russian Supreme Court on 23 January announced that Lebedev, the former Yukos-associated business leader, will be released from the prison in Velsk, a town located 550 km south of Arkhangelsk City. The decision came after President Vladimir Putin on the 20th December 2013 pardoned his close associate Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
According to Interfax, Lebedev on 24 January walked out of the prison in Velsk as a free man.
Platon Lebedev was in 2006 sentenced to nine years of jail for alleged embezzlement and money laundering. Lebedev was leader of the Menatep Group, a financial corporation working closely with Khodorkovsky’s Yukos. In a second trial, the prison sentence was in 2010 extended with an additional four years of jail.
Both Lebedev and Khodorkovsky have spent the last years in the Barents Region, the former in Arkhangelsk Oblast and the latter in the Republic of Karelia.
As previously reported, the Yukos case also has a connection with Murmansk Oblast, as Menatep in 1994 acquired a 20 percent stake in state-owned Apatit, a major regional fertilizer producer. This deal became a centerpiece in the cases against both Khodorkovsky and Lebedev. According to state prosecutors, the stake was acquired illegally at a price far below the market value. It was formally returned to the statein 2009 and later came under control of Andrey Guriev and his Phosagro company.