Voices from Russia

Friday, 20 December 2013

Khodorkovsky Says He Asked for Pardon for Family Reasons

get out of jail free chance

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Former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, released from prison on Friday on a presidential pardon, said that he’d asked Vladimir Putin for clemency due to family circumstances. In a statement posted on his website, he said, “I turned to the Russian President on 12 November with a request for a pardon because of family circumstances, and I’m happy with the positive decision. The issue of admission of guilt wasn’t raised”. Khodorkovsky flew to Germany after his release. On Thursday, Putin told reporters that he decided to sign the pardon after receiving a request for clemency from Khodorkovsky, citing his mother’s deteriorating health. Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest person, said in that he was looking forward to a meeting with his parents, wife, and children, saying, “I’m looking forward for an opportunity to celebrate the approaching holidays within my family”. He also expressed thanks to all those who had supported him throughout his legal troubles, noting, “I’m very much waiting for the minute when I can hug those close to me and personally shake hands with all my friends and colleagues”.

On Friday, the Kremlin stated that it granted a pardon for Khodorkovsky, 50, on humanitarian grounds and would implement it immediately. Khodorkovsky never hid his concern over the health of his parents, and he wrote in a New York Times article last month detailing his mother’s battle with cancer since the age of 45, “My mother is now nearly 80 years old and again facing cancer and more surgeries”. Khodorkovsky’s mother’s location wasn’t immediately clear, but Dozhd reported that she was at a school for orphans in Moscow Oblast built with money from Khodorkovsky’s former oil company, Yukos. Khodorkovsky’s father, Boris, speaking on the phone from the Moscow Oblast, told the AP that he and his wife intended to fly to Germany on Saturday.

Khodorkovsky spent more than a decade in prison following his arrest on a Siberian runway in 2003 and two later convictions for fraud, tax evasion, and embezzlement. He drew attention from the authorities early on in Putin’s first presidential term by his political activities. Khodorkovsky always maintained his innocence, claiming that the cases against him were Kremlin retribution for political and business ambitions. The government maintains that the matter was purely criminal.

20 December 2013

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/russia/20131220/185780075/Khodorkovsky-Says-He-Asked-for-Pardon-for-Family-Reasons.html

Editor’s Note:

Note well that Khodorkovsky left the country right after his pardon. I believe that Putin cut a deal with him… “You won’t have to admit guilt, but you’ll have to leave the country, stay out, and play ball with me”. Mikhail Borisovich jumped at it. In any case, Vladimir Vladimirovich has consolidated power and has nothing to fear from his former rival, who has no more allies left at the Centre and no way of influencing politics. To be frank, he saw a way out of his personal hell, and he took it. He’ll no longer be useful to the West as a “martyr”… he’ll end as a moderately-rich man (he did sock some of his ill-gotten gains away in Western hidey-holes), but no longer a factor in Russian politics. CNN is wrong… this isn’t going to bite VVP… how can it? Khodorkovsky’s out of the country, never to return. After all, it was all arranged prior to the release… including the visa with Germany. Good riddance to bad rubbish…

Oh, one last thing… Khodorkovsky’s business methods were bloody-near-identical to those of Willard Romney. Putin (rightfully) labelled Khodorkovsky a criminal and put him in the slammer… the Republican Party lionised Wet Willy. It tells you much about their respective characters (or lack of same), doesn’t it?

BMD

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