Khodorkovsky to Skip Mother’s Funeral Over Legal Threat

Mikhail Khodorkovsky
Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former main owner of Yukos Oil Co., has ruled out a return to Russia for fear of not being allowed to leave again because of the tax case. Photographer: Bartek Sadowski/Bloomberg

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former main owner of Yukos Oil Co. now living in Switzerland, can’t attend his mother’s funeral in Russia because he’s concerned he won’t be allowed out of the country, his spokeswoman said.

“He can’t come to Russia,” Olga Pispanen said by phone. “They may not let him out again.”

The ex-tycoon’s mother, Marina Khodorkovskaya, died at age 79 on Aug. 3 in Berlin, where she had been undergoing medical treatment, Pispanen said. She will be buried outside Moscow on Aug. 11. Khodorkovsky, 51, was freed in December following a decade in Russian prison camps, after he was granted a presidential pardon on humanitarian grounds because of his mother’s illness.

Khodorkovsky along with his business partner, Platon Lebedev, remains liable for 17 billion rubles ($475 million) in tax claims, according to a decision by the Supreme Court in January. Khodorkovsky has ruled out a return to Russia for fear of not being allowed to leave again because of the tax case. Lebedev hasn’t been allowed to go abroad since he was released earlier this year.

Former owners and managers of Yukos last week secured two international rulings awarding damages of $52.5 billion against Russia for the confiscation of what was once the nation’s largest oil company. Russia has said it will appeal the decisions.

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