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Russia's Mikhail Khodorkovsky put on international wanted list

December 23, 2015, 11:40 UTC+3
The former CEO of Russia's Yukos oil company has been arrested in absentia on charges of organizing murders
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© ITAR-TASS/Zurab Javakhadze

MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. Former Yukos head Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been arrested in absentia on charges of organizing murders and put on an international wanted list, Russian Investigative Committee (IC) spokesman Vladimir Markin said on Wednesday.

"After considering the petition of the Russian Investigative Committee’s department on investigating particularly important cases, the court has chosen detention as the measure of restraint against Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been put on an international wanted list," Markin said.

He reminded that Khodorkovsky was earlier called for questioning as a suspect in organizing murder and attempting to murder two or more people.

Moscow’s Basmanny court confirmed the arrest in absentia of Khodrkovsky, the court’s press secretary Yunona Tsareva told TASS. The term of arrest - two months - will be counted from the moment of detaining Khodorkovsky.

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 Nefteyugansk Mayor Vladimir Petukhov and entrepreneur Yevgeny Rybkin.

Leonid Nevzlin, Alexey Pichugin, Gennady Tsigelnik, Yevgeny Reshetnikov and Vladimir Shapiro were earlier convicted for these crimes.

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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