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Apartments of Russian opposition movement employees searched as part of Yukos case

December 22, 2015, 9:35 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Open Russia political movement says on its website its goals are to unite Russian citizens seeking a state government by the rule of law, with fair elections and the promotion of European values
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A search conducted by the Russian Investigative Commitee (archive)

A search conducted by the Russian Investigative Commitee (archive)

© Zurab Javakhadze/TASS

MOSCOW, December 22. /TASS/. The Open Russia opposition movement has said that representatives of law enforcement agencies are conducting searches "in the apartments of Open Russia employees and Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s spokesperson Olga Pispanen." This information has appeared on the organization’s account on Twitter.

The Open Russia movement was founded by Khodorkovsky in 2014. The organization says on its website its goals are to unite Russian citizens seeking a state government by the rule of law, with fair elections and the promotion of European values.

Russia’s Investigative Committee official spokesman Vladimir Markin has confirmed that "investigative actions" are underway at Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Open Russia Foundation as part of the Yukos case.

"Indeed, investigative actions are held as part of the now-defunct oil giant Yukos case opened back in 2003," Markin said.

Ex-Yukos chief charged with organizing murders

Russia’s Investigative Committee in early December brought charges in absentia against former head of the now defunct oil company Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky, accusing him of organizing murders.

According to the investigation, Khodorkovsky who was a shareholder and the board chairman of the oil company Yukos instructed his subordinates to organize the murder of the mayor of Nefteyugansk.

Khodorkovsky, who currently resides in Switzerland, has denied involvement in the murder of Vladimir Petukhov. He noted that he was ready to answer any questions over this criminal case only to the Swiss authorities. "If the country where I live now finds it necessary for me to answer these questions, I will do that."

Khodorkovskyalso said he didn't intend to go to Russia to be questioned over the case of the Siberian mayor’s murder. "I can say one thing: I won’t take part in this show," the ex-Yukos chief said.

The former head of oil giant Yukos, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and his business partner Platon Lebedev were found guilty of embezzlement and tax evasion in May 2005 and sentenced to nine years in prison.

While serving their prison term, both Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were found guilty of embezzlement and money laundering in a second criminal case in December 2010 and sentenced to 14 years in prison, with account taken of the jail term they had served.

Khodorkovsky was pardoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin and left prison in December 2013. Lebedev was released in early 2014.

Media reports said the ex-Yukos head wrote in his pardon request that he pledged not to go into politics.

Vladimir Putin in late December 2014 also noted that Khodorkovsky asked to pardon him, at least he sent a corresponding paper, and "it seemed that he did not intend to engage in politics.” 

The president later said Khodorkovsky still had the right to be engaged in politics.

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