A court on Thursday confirmed an earlier ruling to reduce the prison sentence of Platon A. Lebedev, a former business partner of the oil tycoon Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, in a show of leniency that could result in Mr. Lebedev's release in July. He has served 10 years of a 13-year sentence. The two men were convicted of tax evasion and later of financial misdeeds related to their oil company. It is widely believed that their prosecution was related to Mr. Khodorkovsky's opposition to President Vladimir V. Putin. Mr. Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man, is seeking to reduce his sentence by using legal arguments similar to those offered by Mr. Lebedev.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.