Switzerland Gives Pardoned Russian Oil Tycoon a Visa

The visa will allow Khodorkovsky to travel freely within the 26-nation Schengen area.

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Switzerland granted a three-month visa to the former Russian oil tycoon who was pardoned by President Vladimir Putin earlier this month after 10 years in prison.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who left for Berlin immediately after his release, can now freely travel within the 26-nation Schengen area in Europe, the Associated Press reports. The German government had previously given him a one-year visa for Germany.

Khodorkovsky, 50, has business ties in Switzerland and his sons go to school there, according to the AP. Over the course of his prosecution for tax evasion and money-laundering, Swiss authorities also refused to hand over to Russian officials roughly $5 billion connected to Khodorkovsky, saying the prosecution was politically motivated, according to the AP.

The amnesty for Khodorkovsky, also provided to members of the the punk band Pussy Riot and detained Greenpeace activists, was widely seen as a move to allay international criticism ahead of the Winter Olympics in in Russia in February.

A spokesman for Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, told the AP he has not decided where he will settle.

[AP]

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