| Khodorkovsky ‘arrives in Germany’ after Putin pardon!

Khodorkovsky ‘arrives in Germany’ after Putin pardon ~ BBC.

Russian ex-tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has arrived in Germany, hours after being pardoned by President Vladimir Putin, German officials say.

Russian prison officials said Mr Khodorkovsky had requested travel papers to see his sick mother there.

Mr Khodorkovsky’s father told AP he and his wife were still in Moscow but were planning to fly to Germany, where she has been treated in the past.

Mr Putin earlier said he had signed the pardon on “the principles of humanity”.

Mr Khodorkovsky, 50, had been in custody for a decade.

The former head of the now defunct oil giant Yukos, who was once Russia’s richest man, had been jailed for tax evasion and theft after funding opposition parties.

‘Personal request’Mr Khodorkovsky left the penal colony where he was being held, in the Karelia region of north-western Russia, early on Friday afternoon.


Mikhail Khodorkovsky timeline

  • 1980s – Sets up computer software business
  • 1987 – Founds Menatep bank
  • 1995 – Buys Yukos for $350m, with Menatep assuming $2bn in debt
  • 2003 – Arrested for tax evasion, embezzlement and fraud
  • 2005 Jailed for eight years (running 2003-11)
  • 2007 – Yukos declared bankrupt
  • Dec 2010 – Convicted of embezzlement and money laundering, jailed for 13 years (2003-16)
  • Dec 2012 – Sentence cut by two years, release date 2014
  • Dec 2013 – Freed from jail after presidential pardon

Russia’s Federal Penal Service, quoted by news agency Interfax, said: “In the course of his release, Khodorkovsky asked for a passport for foreign travel. His request was met.

“Once he was released from prison, he left for Germany, where his mother is undergoing treatment.

“We stress that the flight took place at his request and his exit documents were processed at his personal request.”

Mr Khodorkovsky’s mother, Marina, 79, has been treated in Germany before.

However, Mr Khodorkovsky’s father, Boris, told the Associated Press (AP) that he and his wife were still in Moscow and were planning to fly to Germany on Saturday.

Reuters quoted Mr Khodorkovsky’s mother as saying she was waiting in Moscow and would leave Russia to see him if necessary.

Mr Khodorkovsky was jailed after being convicted of stealing oil and laundering money in 2010.

He had been in prison since 2003 when he was arrested and later convicted on charges of tax evasion. He was due to be released next August.

The presidential pardon came after Russian MPs on Wednesday backed a wide-ranging amnesty for at least 20,000 prisoners.

Mr Putin confirmed it would apply to the two members of punk band Pussy Riot still in prison and Greenpeace activists detained for their protest at a Russian oil rig in the Arctic.

Analysts say Mr Putin may be trying to ease international criticism of Russia’s human rights record ahead of February’s Winter Olympics in Sochi.

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Mikhail Khodorkovsky in court in Dec 2010, Moscow

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former head of the now defunct oil giant Yukos, was once Russia’s richest man.

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