Skip to main content

Russian dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky arrives in Switzerland

By Mayra Cuevas, CNN
January 5, 2014 -- Updated 2129 GMT (0529 HKT)
This file photo shows Mikhail Khodorkovsky at his first press conference since his release on December 22, 2013 in Germany.
This file photo shows Mikhail Khodorkovsky at his first press conference since his release on December 22, 2013 in Germany.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky arrives in Switzerland
  • Russian dissident travels to visit his family
  • Khodorkovsky was jailed for 10 years in Russian prison

(CNN) -- Former oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky arrived in Switzerland Sunday, according to a statement posted on his website.

Khodorkovsky was pardoned and released from a Russian prison on December 20 after spending 10 years in jail after a fraud and tax evasion conviction.

Less than a week after his release, Khodorkovsky was granted a Schengen visa -- which allows him to travel throughout the European Union -- by Swiss authorities.

Khodorkovsky "is grateful for the principled positions taken by the Swiss authorities over the many years of his unjust imprisonment," read the statement. "Swiss judicial authorities were quick to recognise the politicised nature of Mr. Khodorkovsky's prosecution."

Khodorkovsky: I don't know why I'm free
Khodorkovsky reveals prison life
Khodorkovsky's decade behind bars

According to the statement, "the purpose of his visit is a family matter, as he and his wife are accompanying their two sons back to school in Switzerland." Khodorkovsky has two twin sons studying in a Swiss school.

Khodorkovsky and his wife traveled by train from Berlin, where they have been since Khodorkovsky's release.

After Russian President Vladimir Putin's December pardon, the country's Supreme Court will take a second look at cases against Khodorkovsky, state-run news agency RIA Novosti reported. The court cited the European Court of Human Rights' criticism of the tax evasion and fraud case.

The statement said Khodorkovsky has not made plans for permanent residency in Switzerland.

Russia has faced international criticism for its treatment of Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man, with countries including the United States accusing it of selective prosecution and abuse of the legal system.

Khodorkovsky's release was one of dozens, part of Putin's new amnesty law that some critics have described as a public relations campaign ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

In past statements to CNN, Khodorkovsky has said his prosecution was part of a Kremlin campaign to destroy him and take control of Yukos, the oil company he built from privatization deals of the 1990s.

Khodorkovsky speaks out

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0242 GMT (1042 HKT)
Successful launch of lunar orbiter, seen as a precursor for a planned mission to the surface of the moon, marks significant advance for the country's space program.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1915 GMT (0315 HKT)
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, shot while standing guard at Ottawa's National War Memorial, was known for his easygoing manner and smile.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 2006 GMT (0406 HKT)
Non-stop chatter about actress' appearance is nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 2208 GMT (0608 HKT)
CEO's 30-min Putonghua chat is the perfect charm offensive for Facebook's last untapped market.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0345 GMT (1145 HKT)
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 2058 GMT (0458 HKT)
Air New Zealand's new 'Hobbit' safety video stars Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, elves and orcs.
October 23, 2014 -- Updated 1414 GMT (2214 HKT)
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0333 GMT (1133 HKT)
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
October 20, 2014 -- Updated 1607 GMT (0007 HKT)
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 1748 GMT (0148 HKT)
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
October 22, 2014 -- Updated 0959 GMT (1759 HKT)
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1021 GMT (1821 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT