Russian president Vladimir Putin said Thursday he will sign pardon for jailed tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky “in the nearest future,” RIA Novosti reported.
Khodorkovsky’s father was Jewish and his mother was Christian. He was Russia’s richest man before his arrested in 2003 and was slated to be freed next August.
“He has spent over 10 years in confinement – which is a serious term, I believe,” Putin told reporters. Now age 50, Khodorkovsky claimed that his trial was a mockery and an attempt to “destroy the reputation of the judicial system and trust in this state institution, merely for the sake of extending a prison term for opponents of the authorities.”
Khodorkovsky funded opposition parties and publicly challenged Putin’s handling of corruption. He and his business partner then were arrested and convicted for tax evasion. When their prison terms nearly expired in 2012, they were sentenced again on charges of money laundering and stealing oil.