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Russia’s Khodorkovsky Gets Swiss Residence Permit for One Year

Former Yukos Oil Owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian ex-billionaire who spent a decade in prison after opposing President Vladimir Putin, speaks during his public lecture at Kiev Polytechnic Institute on March 10, 2014. Photographer: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images

Freed Russian dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky received a one-year residence permit from Switzerland for the canton where his wife and two sons live.

The Swiss Federal Office for Migration granted the permit on request of the northeastern canton of St. Gallen on March 27, the Bern-based agency, also known as FOM, said in an e-mailed statement today.

“Mr. Khodorkovsky applied to the canton of St. Gallen because his wife and his two sons are already living there,” the FOM said. “St. Gallen then invoked considerable fiscal interests in his request for approval to the FOM.”

Once Russia’s richest man, the 50-year-old former owner of Yukos Oil Co. was imprisoned for tax evasion and fraud before President Vladimir Putin issued a surprise pardon in December. Khodorkovsky and his supporters have maintained his innocence. He was granted a three-month visa to the Schengen group of countries, including Switzerland, in December and said he would “most likely” settle in the Alpine nation.

Khodorkovsky reportedly moved into a villa on Lake Zurich in the Rapperswil-Jona municipality within the canton, the Blick newspaper said this month, citing a neighbor.

Switzerland will review whether to extend the permit after a year, the FOM said.

The news of his Swiss residency was reported earlier today by Neue Zuercher Zeitung.

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