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Oil tycoon trial risks UK-Russian trade, says MP

Britain should warn Russia that the latest controversial conviction of an oil tycoon risks damaging trade links between the two countries, a senior Tory MP said.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was nearing the end of an eight-year sentence for tax fraud, has been found guilty of theft and money laundering charges and now faces several more years behind bars.

Richard Ottaway, who chairs the influential foreign affairs select committee, said it did not appear that the rule of law had been followed.

He encouraged the UK Government to take a tough stance over the case.

He said it was not for Britain to get drawn into the "rights and wrongs" of the case, pointing to an apparent "power struggle going on inside the Kremlin over this particular case".

He added that the process raised serious concerns for Anglo-Russian commercial ties.

"I am very concerned about the way the court case has been conducted," he said.

"The implications are serious for countries like Britain. We have a lot of interaction with Russia and we expect that the rule of law is followed.Without that it shakes confidence in dealing with Russia."