Byline: TOM NICHOLLS
YOU ARE on remand in a hellish jail, being tried in an illegal court for breaking a law that does not exist. The prosecution is as shambolic as your defence is watertight, but you will be convicted anyway. The only question is the length of your prison sentence - five to 10 years, probably.
That, says his defence team, is the predicament of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the oil tycoon on trial in Moscow on charges of large-scale fraud and tax evasion.
You are the richest of Russia's loathed oligarchs. You made yourself a multibillionaire by buying up State assets on the cheap in dodgy privatisations while the rest of the population, which should be benefiting from that wealth, wallows in poverty. The authorities are right to prosecute you and you should go to prison. That is the view of many Russians.
Khodorkovsky has a knack of polarising opinion. For the Kremlin, he is a political irritant and a springboard to greater popularity - by taking a tough line with the oligarch, President Vladimir Putin has boosted his own ratings. For many Western businessmen, he is a pioneer of good corporate governance in Russia, a clear-thinking entrepreneur who has fallen foul of the jealousies of an autocratic political …