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Khodorkovsky requests Swiss visa

Khodorkovsky has said he has no intention of returning to Russia Reuters

Russian oil tycoon and just-released prisoner Mikhail Khodorkovsky has requested a visa to come to Switzerland, according to the Federal Migration Office. He asked for a Schengen visa valid for three months at the Swiss embassy in Berlin.

This content was published on December 24, 2013 - 15:27
swissinfo.ch and agencies

The embassy has approved the request “and is in contact with the Federal Migration Office to process it”, a migration office spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday.

Khodorkovsky’s wife Inna and their three children have made their home in Switzerland. He was due to be reunited with them in Berlin on Tuesday; they have not seen each other for ten years.

The ex-oligarch has said he has no intention of returning to Russia and it has been speculated that he will move to Switzerland to join his wife and children. On Sunday, in his first public appearance in a decade, Khodorkovsky expressed his gratitude to Switzerland for its legal and humanitarian aid during his captivity.

However, a spokesman for Khodorkovsky said the Swiss visa request was not an indication of where the 50-year-old planned to settle long-term.

"He wants to travel to Switzerland early in the new year to see the place where his sons go to school," Hanne told The Associated Press. "But there's no decision yet about a permanent home."

Khodorkovsky, once the wealthiest man in Russia as the owner of the Yukos oil company, was imprisoned in 2003 on charges of fraud and tax evasion. A critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, he was considered by Switzerland and the West to be a political prisoner, since his charges were viewed as a trumped-up warning from Putin to anyone who might defy him.

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