|This would simply never happen in the West|
Mr Khodorkovsky, a former Komsomol deputy who woke up one morning and decided that all the oilfields in Russia belonged to him, is already serving an eight-year sentence and, in a second trial, has now been declared guilty of stealing oil worth more than $26bn from his own company, presumably to fuel an extremely large car.
The White House has said that it is “deeply concerned” about the “selective application of justice”, pointing out that a string of criminal activities is now a basic entry requirement for Russian politicians, while both France and Germany have condemned the Russian legal system for its backwardness in actually putting a rich businessman on trial at all.
“It is the sign of a healthy democracy that the legal concept of fraud, once the preserve of the wealthy, has long since been extended to the people, and is nowadays only ever prosecuted in the case of dolescum who have a 20-hour part-time cleaning job yet tell the Jobcentre they do less than 16 hours a week,” commented a legal expert. “Nobody expects to see a chap in an Armani suit in the dock any more - and as for a corporate multi-billionaire actually doing time, well, it simply isn’t done.”
This isn’t law,” he observed scathingly. “It’s justice, which has no place in a modern society.”
Mr Putin remains unmoved, however, insisting on Russian TV even before the judge announced his verdict that a “thief must be in politics - unless he dares to criticise me, of course, in which case obviously he must be in prison.”