Russia Could Compensate Khodorkovsky for Case Violations

Mikhail Khodorkovsky file photo

(Moscow Times – – December 27, 2013) Russia will pay Mikhail Khodorkovsky a 10,000 euro ($13,700) fine ordered by the European Court for Human Rights, but may try to get the money frozen under the original Russian verdict that had put the former tycoon in prison for a decade, officials said Friday.

Russia will transfer the amount as soon as it receives Khodorkovsky’s bank details, a spokesman for the Justice Ministry said, Interfax reported. But another official said that Moscow may immediately seek to get the funds frozen under the 2005 verdict that found Khodorkovsky guilty of fraud and tax evasion and ordered him and his business partner Platon Lebedev to pay 17 billion rubles ($521 million) in compensation.

“Any sum deposited to Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s account may be arrested under the framework of collecting 17 billion rubles from him under the first case,” an unidentified official said. The order would need to be approved by a court, he added.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled in July that the 2005 trial, the first of Russia’s two against Khodorkovsky, was marred by several rights violations, and also found that the decision compelling Khodorkovsky and Lebedev to pay the 17 billion rubles lacked sufficient legal grounding.

The Russian Supreme Court will reopen the books on the 2005 case in January, RIA Novosti reported on Friday.

Chief justice Vyacheslav Lebedev has said that the European Court’s decision qualified as “new circumstances” for reopening the case. The Supreme Court will also review the second, 2010, guilty verdict.

Khodorkovsky was released last week on amnesty, days after Putin surprised friend and foe by announcing that Khodorkovsky would be set free “in the nearest future.”