Accessibility links

Khodorkovsky Says Putin 'Naked King' Facing Economic Ruin

Former Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has called Russian President Vladimir Putin a "naked king" whose economy will weaken so much that rival clans will battle each other for political power.

Khodorkovsky, who was Russia's richest man before his 2003 arrest after falling out with Putin, said in London on February 26 that "Putin with a bare chest isn't a mighty leader: He is a naked king."

Khodorkovsky said Russia's economy will continue to weaken to the point that the powerful groups that he says control the country will turn against each other.

He also urged the West to build its relations with opposition groups in Russia to be prepared for when Putin is no longer in power.

Khodorkovsky, 51, led Russia's largest oil company, Yukos, when he was arrested and later jailed for tax evasion and fraud.

He was released from prison in 2013 on a pardon from Putin and currently lives in Switzerland.

Based on reporting by Reuters