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    5 June 2006 session | 5 Jun 2006

    Alexey Pichugin. Photo ITAR-TASSOn the 5th of June consideration of circumstances of the attempts on life of the Nefteugansk mayor Vladimir Petuhov continued. Many of the witnesses for prosecution for unknown reasons did not come to the court, therefore the session lasted only for a half of the working day (till 2 p.m.).

    Former deputy of the head of Nefteugansk was first to give testimony and told about disputes occurred between „Ugansneftegas“ and „YUKOS“ on the one part and the city administration on the other with respect to the question of tax payments to the budget. Those disputes, according to the witness, usually ended with signing of agreements between the companies and city administration. Such tax difficulties occurred in 1996-98 with other enterprises as well. 

    According to the agreement, „YUKOS“ paid a part of the taxes with oil products. The city administration had an agreement with the firm „Rondo-S“ on the realization of this oil, which in its turn had to remit received funds to the budget. However, the payments were not received and the city authorities had claims though not to „Rondo-S“, but to „YUKOS“. Such claims the oil company considered groundless. This conflict was considered in the court, where „YUKOS“ acted as a claimant and administration of Nefteugansk  as defendant.

    Moreover, the witness told that according to Petuhovs decision a private market was closed in the city and a municipal one was established instead, that caused discontent of former traders.

    At the request of Aleksey Pichugins lawyer Georgy Kaganer records of this witness interrogation that were given in the course of preliminary investigation on 28 July 1998 were read in the court. In particular, the records contain statements about the fact of initiation of criminal proceedings against Lubiev and Shirshov  the heads of local motor transport enterprise, where embezzlements were detected.

    The witness found difficulty to bring a version of the murder of Petuchov. The mayor did not express concerns about threats to his life at his presence. According to own confession, the witness does not know any of the accused. The question of the prosecutor Kamil Kashaev: „ Do you share the version which was published in the mass media?“ was removed by the judge Vladimir Usov as inconsistent.

    The second witness for prosecution Valentin Tarasov who spoke in the session worked as a steward in Evgeny Ribin housing estate in Moscow Region.  Tarasov told that after the first attempt on Ribins life in 1998 he started to write down in his notebook all suspicious things that happened around his employer. However, Tarasov made only one note: in the middle or in the second half of February 1999 (the witness found difficulty to specify the date). Ribin was cleaning the yard around his house from the snow on the tractor, and Tarasov was following him on foot. During this „walk“ Tarasov saw a suspicious dark „Toyota Land Cruiser“, in which „dgigits“ (witnesses formulation) sat. Suspiciousness lied in that the car drove slowly along the Ribins house.

    According to prosecutor Kashaev those „dgigits“ were the accused Tsigelnik (also known as Shevtsov) and Reshetnikov, who followed Ribin on the instructions of Aleksey Pichugin, who supposedly prepared the attempt on his life.

    Nevertheless Tarasov decidedly stated that had not seen any of the accused earlier.

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