Russia wants top Putin foe businessman to be arrested abroad

Russia has issued international arrest warrant for top Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky after police raided his offices on Tuesday over a criminal investigation

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Mikhail Khodorkovsky in a Moscow court in 2004

Updated Dec 23, 2015

A Russian court has declared an international arrest warrant for Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former Yukos Oil chief and top critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Investigators announced on Wednesday that an international arrest warrant has been issued for Khodorkovsky on suspicion of organising a contract killing of the mayor of a Siberian oil town.

Khodorkovsky spokeswoman Kulle Pispanen said the decision would not affect the former head of bankrupt oil giant Yukos.

"Mikhail Borisovich (Khodorkovsky) will by no means limit his movements because of the hysterical actions of the Kremlin ghouls," Pispanen told AFP.

Khodorkovsky's lawyer Vadim Klyuvgant stated it depends on foreign countries to decide whether to approve the warrant.

He spoke to Echo of Moscow radio and described the arrest announcement as "another bout of fraudulent activities".

Police raid Putin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s office

The incident came a day after armed police raided the offices of a pro-democracy campaign founder Khodorkovsky on Tuesday over a criminal investigation on the former tycoon and his colleagues.

Khodorkovsky evaluated the raid as a reaction to his criticism of President Putin.

"Searches at the Open Russia [movement] after my meeting with journalists," was tweeted from his official Twitter account. "A repeat of 2003. Putin has become predictable."

Khodorkovsky's Open Russia campaign stated that during the raid, police also investigated some staff members' apartments in Moscow and St. Petersburg and retrieved several documents.

Khodorkovsky is known for criticising Putin and recently he accused Putin of pushing Russia into the Soviet regime period of stagnation.

He was released in 2013, after spending a decade in prison over tax evasion, fraud and embezzlement charges, but he claimed that the court punished him for funding Putin’s oppositions in Russia.

Khodorkovsky, whose residence is listed as the UK, has associated the raids with political pressure such as was the case in the Soviet period.

"The decay had entered its final stage," Khodorkovsky told Ekho Moskvy radio station. "We are all familiar with this from the time of [Soviet leader Leonid] Brezhnev."

Meanwhile, some activists have accused Putin of scaremongering among his oppositions and considered Kremlin responsible over killing its oppositions in Russia.


TRTWorld and agencies