Russian Prosecutor General’s Office files lawsuit against Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Photo: EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET

Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Photo: EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET

The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office has petitioned a Moscow court to bring charges against former oligarch turned opposition politician Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his erstwhile business partner Platon Lebedev, state-affiliated news agency Interfax reported on Thursday.

The lawsuit was filed on 8 May “in the interests of the Russian Federation”. The charges have not been made public.

Khodorkovsky is the founder and Lebedev the former CEO of the Menatep group of financial companies. Khodorkovsky was also the chairman and CEO of the Yukos Oil Company, bought by Menatep from the Russian government, from 1995 to 2003. In 2003, he was arrested on embezzlement and tax evasion charges. At the time of his arrest, he was considered to be one of the richest people in the world, with a fortune estimated at $15 billion (€12.75 billion). He was sentenced to 14 years in prison, reduced upon appeal to 10 years and 10 months. In 2013, Vladimir Putin pardoned Khodorkovsky, who left Russia upon his release.

In 2015, he was put on the wanted list as part of the investigation into the 1998 murder of Vladimir Petukhov, the mayor of Nefteyugansk in the Khanty-Mansiysk autonomous district of the Russian Urals. Since January 2024, he has also been wanted on charges of spreading “false information” about the Russian military.

Lebedev was also found guilty of embezzlement, tax evasion and money laundering and served nine years in prison.

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