Kremlin Foe Khodorkovsky Defies Summons to Moscow in Criminal Case

Published: 08 December 2015

Mikhail KhodorkovskyMikhail Khodorkovsky

By Stella Roque

Almost two years after receiving a presidential pardon from Russian President Vladimir Putin, former oil billionaire Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been summoned to Moscow for questioning in a criminal case, reported Bloomberg.

Khodorkovsky, who is living in Switzerland, has no intention of answering any questions, Bloomberg reported.

The summons comes in connection to the 1998 killing of the mayor of the Siberian town of Nefteyugansk, where Khodorkovsky’s former company, the oil giant Yukos, was headquartered at the time, according to the Times Union newspaper in Albany, New York.

A spokesperson for Putin told Interfax that Putin had not been aware of to Khodorkovsky’s “possible involvement in other crimes” when pardoning him in 2013.

A source close to the investigation told Interfax that Khodorkovsky was indicted in Russia for the murder of Mayor Vladimir Petukhov and Russian officials want him arrested.Interfax also reported that the widow of the slain mayor welcomed the prosecution of Khodorkovsky. Petukhov was killed on June 26, 1998 on his way to work. Yukos was a major employer in the region and Petukhov allegedly had a conflict with the company for non-payment of taxes and was ready to institute criminal proceedings against Yukos.

Russia’s Investigative Committee claims it has evidence Khodorkovsky ordered Petukhov’s assassination, Bloomberg reports. Yukos’ former security chief, Alexei Pichugin, is currently serving a life sentence for killing Petukhov.

Khodorkovsky, who is based in Switzerland according to his personal twitter account, posted a copy of the summons.

On his account he described the move as a “feeble attempt to change the subject” referencing a recent anti-corruption investigation implicating top Russian prosecutors, according to the Times Union.

A summons was also mailed to the home of his 82-year old father in Moscow, Boris Khodorkovsky, who was also questioned by investigators according to Interfax. His father’s lawyer, Sergei Badamshin, told Interfax that the elder Khodorkovsky refused to answer most of the investigators’ questions, exercising his right to refuse to testify against himself and his family.

Although he had promised to stay out of politics as a condition of his pardon, Khodorkovsky has since been campaigning for Putin's ouster.

At one time Russia's richest man, Khodorkovsky served 10 years in a Russian prison for what he claims were politically-motivated charges of fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion. He says he was jailed for funding opposition political parties to Putin.