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    29 May 2006 session | 29 May 2006

    Alexander Klepikov. Photo hmao.wsnet.ru29 May 2006 in Moscow city court the consideration of criminal case of Aleksey Pichugin continued. Examination of the circumstances of the murder of Nefteugansk city mayor Vladimir Petuhov in June 1998 took the most part of the time. Moreover, Alexander Dobrovinsky — former lawyer of the entrepreneur Eugenie Ribin who was engaged in the suits of the businessman against „YUKOS“ in the arbitration tribunal gave testimony in the session.

    As witnesses for prosecution with respect to the first incident Alexander Klepikov (who occupied the position of the head of Nefteugansk region at that time), Viktor Tkachyov (former first deputy of Petuhov), Konstantin Netunaev (director of Nefteugansk hotel „Rus“) and Julia Korshakevich (who executed duties of the mayors press-secretary) gave testimony. 

    They told about the occurred debt of „Uganskneftegas“ and „YUKOS“ before the city budget as well as about the negotiations between the oil company management and Petuhov with the purpose of settlement of this problem. As the witnesses stated, „YUKOS“ was variously represented by Hodorkovsky, Dubov, Shahnovsky and Trushin. The governor of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area also took part in the negotiations.      

    Viktor Tkachev said that according to the agreement made the taxes were partially paid with immovable property and promissory notes with deferment.

    In 1998 in Nefteugansk employees of government-financed organizations who have not received salary for a long period of time started protest marches. In that period, according to Tkachev, cases of direct payments by „YUKOS“ of the salary to employees of state-financed organizations according to the lists avoiding state treasury took place. 

    The situation with the tax payments in Nefteugansk improved after the change of the head of the city. At the same time „YUKOS“ in Nefteugansk region (in contrast to Nefteugask), according to Alexander Klepikov, always paid 100 % taxes.

    As all witnesses stated, before the murder Petuhov started to take precautions: he installed grating on his windows and acquired the guard. Natunaev and Korshakevich relate the crime with „YUKOS“ and name the conflict caused by insufficient payment of taxes to the budget as a motive. Besides, they state that „YUKOS“ offered Petuhov a bribe in the amount of 500 thousand US dollars with the purpose to delay the payment. To tell the truth, it is still unclear, why one should offer a bribe the amount of which is commensurable with the tax debt? According to the witnesses, it made up 3,5 billion not denominated roubles. 

    Klepikov found difficulty to name the motives of the murder. According to him, Petuhov suited „YUKOS“ since the mayor took the taxes with the unprofitable immovable property.

    Meanwhile the mayor of Nefteugansk had other conflicts, in particular with the former head of the city and the local Duma. Thus, in the records of interrogation of Julia Korshakevich that were conducted immediately after the murder, it is stated clearly that according to her point of view Petuhovs death was advantageous for people from the team of the former head of the city Sevrin and to the Chairman of the Duma Lubiev. However, now Korchakevich, like the prosecutors, calls „YUKOS“ principals of the assassination.

    Alexander Dobrovinsky while speaking about the suit against „YUKOS“ found difficulty to designate its result. According to the witness, the case was reconsidered several times and the final point in the dispute was put with the participation of another lawyer.

    Dorovinsky said that in 1999 he talked in a restaurant to some person whose name he refuses to say. At the same time the interlocutor threatened him with a gun and demanded that he cease to engage in some business (it was not defined what kind of business).  Besides, Dobrovinsky met some Sergey who demanded that he stay away from Ribkin (the surname was formulated exactly in this way) since the latter disturbed very serious persons“.

    It is remarkable that now state prosecution present these data as valid proof of aggressive intentions of the „YUKOS“ governing body. However, in earlier testimony of Dobrovinsky it is stated that Sergey introduced himself as a close friend of „Kirillich“. At the same time it is known that Sergey Astahov, whose appearance coincides with theappearance of the Dobrovinskys interlocutor, was in the milieu of underworld leader Vyacheslav Kirillich Ivankov (Japonchik).

    To sum up the testimonies of the witnesses made on 29 May, in is interesting to analyze what surnames were mentioned in their testimonies and how many times they were mentioned.

    Hodorkovsky  21;

    Nevzlin  16;

    Dubov  7;

    Aleksanyan  1.

    They did not mention Pichugin at all. No witness for prosecution was acquainted with him (as with the other accused).

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