At the press conference he held in Berlin after his was release from prison, Khodorkovsky hinted that he could not return to Russia until the fine was lifted.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky /Getty
It just keeps on getting better for Mikhail Khodorkovsky with the news that the Russian Supreme Court have announced their intention to review a long-term ruling to impose a $500 fine on him for the financial offenses in addition to the 10 year prison sentence imposed on him which he has now served.
According to Khodorkovsky if the fine is lifted, it will clear the way for them to return home to Russia.
Having been freed from prison and granted amnesty on the orders of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, Khodorkovsky, who currently staying in Berlin, Germany, is reported to be planning to make his home in Switzerland with his wife Inna and three children. Before the court decision, Mikhail received a three-month travel visa, allowing him to enter Switzerland.
According to recent developments reported before the weekend, the Russian Supreme Court is also the process of reviewing with a view to reducing the prison sentence currently being served by Khodorkovsky’s former business partner Platon Lebedev, also spent the last 10 years behind prison bars. Platon Lebedev is scheduled for release in July 2014.
The $500 million fine imposed on Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been the subject of much scrutiny. In July of this year the European Court of Human Rights, sitting in Strasbourg, officially requested that the fine be lifted on the grounds that it was in contradiction of Russian laws.
On hearing the news that both the issue of his fighting was under discussion as well as the possible release of Platon Lebedev, Khodorkovsky issued a short statement on praising the court’s decision, whilst making no specific reference to the possibility of him returning to Russia.
On a more cagey note, Khodorkovsky’s lawyer, Vadim Klyuvgant, issued a statement containing his opinions the court’s decision should be considered at this stage as being merely an “intermediate” one, and it should be taken into account that Russian courts notoriously vulnerable to political pressure.
The Russian Supreme Court is due to convene again on January 23 2014, where they will consider supervisory appeals against the sentence handed down to Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev in the second case in which they were charged and found guilty oil theft and money laundering in 2010.
The Khamovnichesky District Court of Moscow sentenced both Khodorkovsky and Lebedev to 14 years in prison. Almost immediately afterwards the Moscow City Court intervened and reduced their sentences by one year, and again in 2012 reducing their sentences by a further two years to 11 years.
Next to intervene were the Russian Supreme Court who moves that both Khodorkovsky and Lebedev’s sentences should be reduced to 10 years and 10 months. At no stage was the possibility of reducing or canceling the $500 million fine discussed.
However according to information provided by the chairman of the Russian Supreme Court, Vyacheslav Lebedev, supervisory appeals against the former partners’ sentences are eligible to be considered thanks to recent developments in the Russian court legislative system, particularly relating to the type of “ white-collar crimes” which apply to Khodorkovsky and Lebedev.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky sprang to prominence in the business world as a Moscow student under Mikhail Gorbachev’s heady days of glasnost and perestroika during the Nineteen Nineties.
While only in his thirties Khodorkovsky succeeded in establishing a number of successful industrial concerns from the privatization of former state assets under the umbrella of his holding company Yukos , particularly based around the development of oil fields in Siberia, under the free hand of Putin’s predecessor Boris Yeltsin.