Russia to free Khodorkovsky aide, hurdle to tycoon's return stands




 
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Russia to free Khodorkovsky aide, hurdle to tycoon's return stands
 
January 23rd, 2014  
News Manager
 

Topic: Russia to free Khodorkovsky aide, hurdle to tycoon's return stands


Russia to free Khodorkovsky aide, hurdle to tycoon's return stands
By Maria Tsvetkova MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Supreme Court ordered the release of Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky's business partner on Thursday after a decade in jail, but refused to drop a tax claim that is keeping the former oil tycoon abroad. Platon Lebedev is the latest high-profile prisoner to be freed in Russia as President Vladimir Putin tries to soften criticism of his record on human rights and democracy before next month's Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. But the decision not to lift a demand that the pair pay the state 17 billion roubles ($521 million) in tax arrears reduces the likelihood of Khodorkovsky returning to Russia from Germany and challenging Putin. "Concerning the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the tax claim: I get the message," Khodorkovsky said in a telephone interview with the New Times, an independent news weekly.




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