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Prominent Putin foe may seek asylum in UK after new arrest

Former Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky speaks during a Reuters Newsmaker event at Canary Wharf in London, Britain, November 26, 2015. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Former Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky speaks during a Reuters Newsmaker event at Canary Wharf in London, Britain, November 26, 2015. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

London: Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin who was once the country’s richest man, may seek asylum in Britain following the declaration in Moscow that he had been arrested in absentia for possible involvement in a 1998 murder.

The former chief of the now-closed Yukos oil firm told BBC Thursday it is now clear that Putin sees him as “a serious threat.” He said he feels safe in London and is interested in seeking asylum.

Khodorkovsky, 52, spent 10 years in prison on tax evasion and embezzlement charges widely seen as punishment for challenging Putin’s authority. His oil company, once Russia’s largest, was dismantled and sold off to state-owned firms. Russian officials announced his arrest in absentia Wednesday over the slaying of a Siberian mayor.

PTI