Pardoned Russian oil tycoon met by son in Germany

Dec. 21, 2013 at 9:58 AM
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BERLIN, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- The eldest son of Mikhail Khodorkovsky has flown to Germany to meet his father, a former Russian oil tycoon pardoned by President Vladimir Putin.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former head of the now defunct oil firm Yukos, had been imprisoned at a penal colony near the Finnish border since 2003 on tax evasion and theft charges, the BBC reported Saturday.

Upon his release Friday, Khodorkovsky flew to Berlin, where his son, Pavel, met him after flying in from the United States, said a spokeswoman, Olga Pispanen.

Khodorkovsky confirmed he had been pardoned because his mother was suffering from cancer. He was scheduled for release in August 2014.

The spokeswoman said his parents were preparing to fly to Berlin to see him.

Khodorkovsky denied he had admitted guilt in requesting the pardon, RIA Novosti reported. He has maintained he was targeted by the Russian government because of his active support of opposition parties.

Senior German politicians had reportedly been secretly negotiating for his release for years. The talks were said to have been mediated by former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and German businessman Hans-Joachim Korber.

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