The investigation against the Yukos co-owners Lebedev and Khodorkovsky began in 2003. Source: Reuters.

Platon Lebedev, a key associate of the recently released former Russian billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is to be freed from jail early, the Russian Supreme Court has ruled. Without that ruling, Lebedev would have had to remain in prison until May 2014.

The Russian Supreme Court has commuted the sentence of Platon Lebedev, former chief of Menatep company, to the term he has already served, and ordered his release from prison. The court refused, however, to order a review of the sentences in the cases of Lebedev and former Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Interfax news agency reports.

Lebedev and Khodorkovsky were co-defendants in two trials related to the oil giant Yukos; this has been one of Russia's most controversial cases in recent years. The investigation against the Yukos co-owners began in 2003. The first sentence was announced by the Khamovniki district court in Moscow in late 2010.

Under the first set of charges, the Meshchanskiy district court in Moscow sentenced the defendants to nine years in prison for fraud and tax evasion. The sentence was later commuted to eight years. Under the second set of charges, the sentence was announced in December 2010 by the Khamovniki district court. The defendants were found guilty of embezzlement and money laundering. Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were sentenced to 14 years in jail; this subsumed the penalty under the first set of charges. The sentence was later commuted to 11 years in prison; it was then reduced once again by another two months. As a result Platon Lebedev was to be released in May 2014.

This article is based on reports by Lenta.ru, Rbc daily, Newsru.com, and Interfax