Russia Prosecutors Want Khodorkovsky's Detention Extended

Russian prosecutors have asked the Moscow Basmanny court to extend the detention of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the largest shareholder in, and former chief executive of, OAO Yukos, Russia's largest oil producer, Interfax reported Friday, citing the defendant's lawyer.

Khodorkovsky has been detained since Oct. 28 on charges of fraud and tax evasion. He maintains the charges against him are politically motivated. The stake Khodorkovsky holds indirectly in Yukos through the holding company Group Menatep Ltd. has been frozen since a few days after that date.

Khodorkovsky's fate, and the subsequent collapse of Yukos's share price, has widely been viewed as the main cause of the breakup of Yukos' planned merger with OAO Sibirskaya Neftyanaya Kompaniya , or Sibneft, its smaller rival. The two companies confirmed earlier this week they are seeking to reverse the deal, which effectively closed in October.