Khodorkovsky Must Ask for Pardon to Be Freed, Medvedev Says

President Dmitry Medvedev said he can’t free Mikhail Khodorkovsky unless the imprisoned former Yukos Oil Co. owner asks for a pardon.

“Without an appeal, there can’t be any examination” of Khodorkovsky’s potential release, Medvedev, who will replace Vladimir Putin as prime minister next month, said in a televised interview today with major Russian channels.

Medvedev’s human rights council urged him to pardon Khodorkovsky, arguing in a legal recommendation that he can do so without the businessman formally requesting a presidential pardon, which involves admitting his guilt.

Khodorkovsky, 48, once Russia’s richest man, is serving 13 years in prison under two separate convictions for fraud, tax evasion and oil embezzlement that he says are retribution for funding opposition parties under then-President Putin. The government denies the accusations. Khodorkovsky was arrested at gunpoint on the tarmac of a Siberian airport in 2003.

To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.