BERLIN (AP) — Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the onetime Russian oil tycoon who was imprisoned for a decade in a politically tinged case, said Sunday he doesn't intend to get involved in politics or finance Russia's political opposition now that he's been pardoned and released.
Khodorkovsky also said he won't seek the return of his stake in oil firm Yukos, according to the German news agency dpa.
The longtime critic of Russia's President Vladimir Putin won't "sponsor" the opposition, dpa quoted him as saying to reporters in Berlin ahead of a news conference.
The comments appeared to quash speculation that Khodorkovsky would take a leading role in the political opposition against Putin, who pardoned him Friday.
Asked whether he planned to take legal action to reclaim the assets of his dismantled Yukos oil company.
"I won't fight for my stake in Yukos," dpa quoted him as saying.
Khodorkovsky flew on a private jet to Berlin right after his release Friday.
The former billionaire had been imprisoned for tax evasion and money-laundering in cases that were widely criticized as political revenge. Khodorkovsky had challenged Putin's dominance by funding opposition parties and he was also believed to have personal political ambitions.
In an interview published Sunday on the website of the Russian newspaper Novoye Vremya, Khodorkovsky is quoted as saying that in his pardon application he said he did not intend to get involved in politics.
However, he was quoted as telling reporters in Berlin on Sunday that he does intend to continue appealing his convictions.
The accusations "were so phantasmagoric that to describe them by non-political reasoning you would probably have to accept the postulate that people who aren't completely adequate work in the special services," he said, according to the news agency Interfax.
Jim Heintz in Moscow contributed to this report.
- Politics & Government
- Mikhail Khodorkovsky
- President Vladimir Putin