News / Europe

Khodorkovsky Leaves Germany for Switzerland

FILE - Mikhail Khodorkovsky, center, is seen arriving at his first news conference after his release in Berlin, Dec. 22, 2013.FILE - Mikhail Khodorkovsky, center, is seen arriving at his first news conference after his release in Berlin, Dec. 22, 2013.
x
FILE - Mikhail Khodorkovsky, center, is seen arriving at his first news conference after his release in Berlin, Dec. 22, 2013.
FILE - Mikhail Khodorkovsky, center, is seen arriving at his first news conference after his release in Berlin, Dec. 22, 2013.
Reuters
Former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky arrived in Switzerland on Sunday, having spent two weeks in Germany since his release from a Russian prison, but gave no clue about his future plans.

”He is, as previously stated, delighted that Switzerland is the second country in which he can breathe the air of freedom,” said a statement posted on Khodorkovsky's website.

”The purpose of his visit is a family matter, as he and his wife are accompanying their two sons back to school in Switzerland,” the statement said, adding that he had not yet made any plans about permanent residency in Switzerland or anywhere else.

Khodorkovsky arrived by train in Basel from Berlin, but a spokesman declined to specify his final destination in Switzerland.

Once Russia's richest man, Khodorkovsky was jailed in 2003 for fraud and tax evasion. He was seen by many as a political prisoner, the highest-profile victim of President Vladimir Putin's campaign to rein in the “oligarchs” who had made fortunes snapping up assets in the chaotic years of Boris Yeltsin's rule following the collapse of Soviet communism.

After his arrest, tax police filed huge back-tax claims against his oil firm, Yukos, which had a market value of $40 billion at its peak.

The Moscow-based firm, unable to pay, eventually filed for bankruptcy and its production assets, which included some of the best oilfields in Russia, were sold off at state-run auctions.

It is not clear what assets Khodorkovsky still retains, nor if he has any money in Switzerland, which initially cooperated with Russia's claims against Yukos by searching firms and houses, seizing documents and freezing assets.

But in June 2004 a subsidiary of Khodorkovsky's holding company Menatep, which had an office in Geneva, won a court appeal to release $1.6 billion of Yukos funds from Swiss bank accounts.

In August 2007, Swiss judicial authorities said they had lifted a freeze on all funds related to the by-then bankrupt Yukos, worth some 200-300 million Swiss francs ($220-330 million).

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid