KAILUA, Hawaii - The White House Monday said it was "deeply concerned" at a Russian court's conviction of jailed tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky on new fraud charges, calling the action a "selective application of justice."
Khodorkovsky and co-accused Platon Lebedev, already in prison on previous fraud charges, were convicted on embezzlement and money laundering charges that the head of the now-defunct Yukos oil giant insists were politically motivated by his support for Russia's opposition.
"We are deeply concerned that a Russian judge today has indicated that for a second time Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev will be convicted," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, traveling here with President Barack Obama.
"We are troubled by the allegations of serious due process violations, and what appears to be an abusive use of the legal system for improper ends," Gibbs said.
"The apparent selective application of the law to these individuals undermines Russia's reputation as a country committed to deepening the rule of law," the US spokesman stressed.