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Russian oligarch Khodorkovsky leaves prison, meets family

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(JTA) — Former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was reunited with his family in Berlin a day after he was released from a Russian prison.

Khodorkovsky was released Friday, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would pardon the former Yukos oil chief, who had spent 10 years in jail and was due to be released in August.

In a statement,  Khodorkovsky said his request last month for a pardon was not an admission of guilt. He reportedly requested the pardon in order to be with his ill mother.

Khodorkovsky was arrested and jailed in 2003. His nine-year term was extended to August 2014 after he was found guilty in a new trial of money laundering and oil theft.

Putin was the nation’s president during the first trial. Khodorkovsky, a major opponent of the Kremlin, reportedly had plans to run for the presidency.

After Khodorkovsky was jailed, Yukos was broken up and sold off.

Khodorkovsky, who is Jewish, was formerly the richest man in Russia.

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