Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Mikhail Khodorkovsky (born 26 June 1963) is a Russian businessman and former oligarch, as well as philanthropist, public figure and author.

In 2003 Khodorkovsky and Roman Abramovich were jointly named as Person of the Year by Expert. In 2004, Khodorkovsky was the wealthiest man in Russia (with a fortune of over $15 billion) and one of the richest people in the world, ranked 16th on Forbes list of billionaires. He had worked his way up the Communist apparatus during the Soviet years, and began several businesses during the era of glasnost and perestroika. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, he accumulated wealth through the development of Siberian oil fields as the head of Yukos, one of the largest Russian companies to emerge from the privatization of state assets during the 1990s.

He was arrested on 25 October 2003, to appear before investigators as a witness, but within hours of being taken into custody he was charged with fraud. The government under Vladimir Putin then froze shares of Yukos shortly thereafter on tax charges. The state took further actions against Yukos, leading to a collapse of the company's share price and the evaporation of much of Khodorkovsky's wealth. He was found guilty and sentenced to nine years in prison in May 2005. While still serving his sentence, Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev were further charged and found guilty of embezzlement and money laundering in December 2010, extending his prison sentence to 2014. After Hans-Dietrich Genscher's impassioned lobbying for his release, President Vladimir Putin pardoned him, releasing him from jail on 20 December 2013

There is widespread concern internationally that the trials and sentencing were politically motivated. The trial process has received criticism from abroad for its lack of due process. Khodorkovsky lodged several applications to the European Court of Human Rights, seeking redress for alleged violations by Russia of his human rights.

In response to his first application, which concerned events from 2003 to 2005, the court found that several violations were committed by the Russian authorities in their treatment of Khodorkovsky. In particular, the court ruled that Khodorkovsky's arrest was "unlawful as it had been made with a purpose different from the one expressed".

Despite these findings, the court ultimately ruled that the trial was not politically motivated, but rather "that the charges against him were grounded in 'reasonable suspicion'".

He was considered to be a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International.

On 20 September 2014, in Paris, Khodorkovsky announced his presidential ambitions aiming to reform the Constitution of the Russian Federation.

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Catalogus 2019

Catalogue 2019