Pardoned Jewish Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky back on Russia’s wanted list


MOSCOW (JTA) – Russian authorities put Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a Jewish former industrialist who was jailed for corruption and pardoned, on the country’s most wanted list in connection with the shooting death of a city’s mayor.

Khodorkovsky, who was released in 2013 and left Russia for Switzerland after a decade in jail, is wanted for questioning in the slaying of Vladimir Petukhov, the mayor of Nefteyugansk, whose 1998 death has remained unsolved, the news agency Interfax reported Tuesday.

Formerly the head of the Yukos oil company, Khodorkovsky was arrested for corruption and sentenced in 2003 to nine years in prison. The term was extended to August 2014 after he was found guilty in a new trial of money laundering and oil theft.

Yukos was a major employer in the region, and Petukhov allegedly had a conflict with the company over nonpayment of taxes. The mayor reportedly was ready to institute criminal proceedings against Yukos.

A major opponent of the Kremlin, Khodorkovsky reportedly had plans to run for the presidency. His supporters maintain he was prosecuted and tried for his criticism and opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

A spokesman for Khodorkovsky told the Bloomberg news agency that Khodorkovsky had no intention of traveling to Russia to answer questions, but would be available to discuss the issue in Switzerland, where he lives.

Russia has not issued an international warrant for Khodorkovsky’s arrest.

On Wednesday, Khodorkovsky said Putin has driven Russia into a position when a revolution is “inevitable and necessary.”

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