Putin: Business amnesty bill needs changes

May 25, 2013 at 11:04 AM

MOSCOW, May 25 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said a bill that would free thousands of jailed businessmen required revisions.

RIA Novosti reported Saturday the office of Russia's business ombudsman Boris Titov estimates 110,000 businessmen could be directly affected by the bill.

Andrei Nazarov, who co-authored the bill with Titov, said it would be ready for consideration by lawmakers "within three to four weeks."

Putin said this week the proposal on economic amnesty was "raw."

Many in the business community in Russia believe officials abuse the law to jail businessmen, either in an effort to extort money or as a way to punish rivals.

While the proposal is undergoing revisions, it is unclear whether Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former head of automobile company Yukos, would be among those who would be freed.

Khodorkovsky, who was jailed along with business associate Platon Lebedev, has said the fraud charges brought against him were prompted by Putin, who wanted to derail his political career.

The Kremlin has denied the allegation.

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