Khodorkovsky says he will not enter Russian politics
Updated: 2013-12-22 22:15
Freed Russian former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky reacts during his news conference in the Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, December 22, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]
BERLIN - Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former oil tycoon and one of Russia's most famous prisoners, said here on Sunday that he will not engage in Russian politics or fund the country's political opposition.
"I will not enter politics, that is, fight for political power," Khodorkovsky told journalists in Berlin.
The former prisoner was pardoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday. After his release Khodorkovsky flew to Germany, where he has been given a one-year visa.
He paid tribute to German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her role in securing his release at a news conference in Berlin, adding that he did not know how long he would be staying in Germany as he may not be allowed to leave Russia again if he returns to the country.
Khodorkovsky, former Yukos CEO, also said he does not intend to fight for the return of assets of the company, which was sold off after his arrest. He was arrested in 2003. In May 2005, a Moscow district court sentenced him to nine years in prison for fraud and tax evasion. That sentence was later reduced to eight years.
In December 2010, Khodorkovsky was sentenced to 14 years in prison for oil theft and legalization of proceeds from its sale and the sentence was later cut to 13 years. In 2012, Russian Supreme Court revised his prison term to expire in August, 2014.
The former tycoon has repeatedly insisted on his innocence, and that the criminal case against him was politically motivated.