Khodorkovsky re-elected as leader of key Russian business association

Nov 15, 2003 01:00 AM

The jailed Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was re-elected as a top executive of a leading Russian business association, a sign of respect by the organization for his innocence.
"The election of Khodorkovsky is both (a demonstration of) solidarity and respect for the presumption of innocence," said Arkady Volsky, president of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), after the congress decided to keep the former chief of Yukos within its executive board.

Khodorkovsky was arrested late last month amid a four-month-long probe into his Yukos oil company. The charges against him, including fraud and tax evasion, severely stirred up the Russian society, especially the business circle.
In an earlier address to the conference of RSPP on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to appease businessmen by promising that there will be no backtrack to the authoritarianism in the Soviet era. However, he also made it clear that the government should react to all violations of law by anybody regardless of his social status, because the state's function of defending everybody implies protection of the national economy.

The state leader has announced following the arrest of Khodorkovsky, the richest man in Russia, that everyone must be equal in the eyes of law, regardless of how much wealth he owns.
He pledged that everyone facing criminal charges should be considered innocent until the court proves him guilty.

Source: People's Daily
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