The Obama administration has harshly criticized Russia for serious judicial failings after a Moscow court upheld a guilty verdict for oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Spokesman Mark Toner says Tuesday's decision against ex-Yukos chief Khodorkovsky (khoh-dohr-KAHV'-skee) and co-defendant Platon Lebedev affirmed U.S. concerns about serious due process violations. He says Russia's legal system has been used for improper ends.
The 47-year-old Khodorkovsky was once Russia's richest man and seen as a political threat to Vladimir Putin. He was arrested in 2003. His conviction for stealing billions of dollars' worth of oil and laundering the proceeds means he'll now remain in prison until 2016.
Toner said Wednesday that Russia can't become a modern economy without developing an independent judiciary that ensures equal treatment under the law.