October 21, 2016

Russian court orders arrest of Mikhail Khodorkovsky over contract killing

Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Russia has issued an international arrest warrant for Kremlin critic and former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky whom police accuse of ordering the killing of the mayor of a Siberian oil town, a police spokesman said on Wednesday.

Khodorkovsky, who denies the charges, was arrested in 2003 after falling out with Vladimir Putin and later convicted of tax evasion and fraud in a trial he said was politically-motivated.

Released in 2013, he now spends a lot of time in London.

Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for Russia’s Investigative Committee, said in a statement police had concluded that Khodorkovsky had ordered subordinates to kill Vladimir Petukhov, the mayor of Nefteyugansk, in 1998.

Markin said the motive was financial and linked to Petukhov’s demands for Yukos to pay taxes he said it was avoiding.

Russia announced the warrant a day after armed police raided the Moscow offices of a pro-democracy movement founded by Khodorkovsky.

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