Hawk: Kick Russia out of G-8 over Yukos

Oct. 31, 2003 at 11:12 AM

MOSCOW, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- The Russian media reported Friday U.S. policy adviser Richard Perle is calling for Russia to be booted from the G-8 over the Yukos asset scandal.

Perle is quoted as saying no other Group of Eight industrialized nations is allowed to treat businessmen the way Russia treated Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was arrested this week for tax evasion and fraud.

The government also seized 44 percent of his company's shares.

"I believe Russia is moving fast in the wrong direction," Perle said, echoing remarks he made at a Moscow seminar in July when Yukos shareholder Platon Lebedev was arrested on similar charges.

"It's possible already to say that real damage is being done to the prospects for future Russian economic growth and development by what appears to be an arbitrary, capricious and vindictive campaign against a private company," he said in July.

Although he resigned as chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, Perle retains strong influence on U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

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