Who is jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkvsky?
Russia: A Russian judge is to begin reading the verdict in jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky's second trial on Monday. Prosecutors have asked the judge to sentence him to six additional years in prison.
Following are details on Khodorkovsky:
What is khodorkovsky's background?
Khodorkovsky, born on June 26, 1963, studied at Moscow's prestigious Mendeleyev Chemistry Institute. While a student he started to trade goods in the last years of the Soviet Union.
Khodorkovsky became one of Russia's most powerful businessmen by buying state assets cheaply and trading commodities after the Soviet Union fell in 1991.
His empire, which at its height produced more oil than OPEC member Qatar, was based around oil giant Yukos and MENATEP, one of the first private banks in post-Soviet Russia. He was briefly Russia's richest man.
Vilified by minority shareholders as one of the country's most opaque businesses during Russia's 1998 financial meltdown, Yukos went on to become Russia's biggest oil producer and the country's biggest private company with a market value of more than $40 billion at its peak.
Why was he arrested?
Khodorkovsky was arrested on October 25, 2003, raising fears that the Kremlin would try to regain control of raw materials companies sold off in the 1990s.
Russia's stock market tumbled as investors dumped shares in Yukos, whose shareholders included major US and European pension funds.
Kremlin critics say his arrest marked a turning point in Vladimir Putin's presidency by giving hardliners the upper hand. Putin supporters also say it was a watershed because Putin finally underlined the Kremlin's authority over business groups.
Khodorkovsky says that he is a victim of corrupt officials under Putin who feared his political ambitions and wanted to carve up his business empire. The government says that he was prosecuted according to the law for his misdeeds and sentenced fairly.
Supporters say that he is Russia's most famous political prisoner, arrested to send a signal to other businessmen over dissent. Khodorkovsky had begun funding political parties other than the main pro-Kremlin party, and he angered the Kremlin by suggesting some oil deals involving the state were corrupt.
Opponents say that he simply lost a battle for influence because he did not see how the political climate had changed. Critics also say that his tactics were among the most aggressive of the oligarchs - businessmen with immense wealth and influence - and that Western media have ignored his past.
What happened to his assets?
After Khodorkovsky's arrest, tax police filed huge back-tax claims against Yukos. The Moscow-based firm, unable to pay, eventually filed for bankruptcy and its production assets, which included some of the best oil fields in Russia, were sold off at state-run auctions.
Russian state-controlled oil firm Rosneft bought the largest production assets, including Yuganskneftegaz, making Rosneft Russia's biggest oil producer. The chairman of the board at Rosneft is Igor Sechin, a deputy prime minister in charge of the energy industry who previously worked as Putin's deputy chief of staff in the Kremlin during the Yukos affair.
Yukos's other two main production assets, Tomskneft and Samaraneftegaz, were purchased by Rosneft in 2007 at state-run auctions. In 2007, Rosneft sold half of Tomskneft to Gazprom Neft, the oil unit of state-controlled gas giant Gazprom.