Michael Khodokovsky was once a billionaire who wielded great power in Russia until he ran directly into the ire of then President Vladmir Putin who brooked no denial of his absolute power. The former Yukos CEO was tried on trumped up charges, convicted and sent off to Siberia. His basic crime had nothing to do with financial transactions as much as for daring to support political opponents of Putin. Khodorkovsky is back in court now charged with stealing 350 million tons of oil, and, once again the court is stacked against any form of fair trial. Sberbank CEO Gefrman Gref appeared in court to defend Khodorkovsky since at the time of the alleged crime he headed the Economic Development and Trade Ministry. “If such an embezzlement had taken place, I would have been aware of the fact” he told the court. Within moments of giving testimony he literally fled from the court and even left his glasses on a table. Gref knows only too well what happens to anyone who dares crossing Putin and endeavored to distance himself from the alleged crimes.
Mikhail Kasyanov, who served as prime minister from 2000-2004 says the entire case is politically motivated. Former Central Bank chief Vicktor Gerashchenko termed the charges, “utter crap.” Putin is using a Jewish industrial leader who dared to support political opponents to draw upon latent anti-Semitism in order to smear anyone who dares to advocate real democracy in Russia.