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Khodorkovsky Says Elderly Father To Be Questioned In Russian Mayor's Killing

Boris Khodorkovsky, father of former Russian oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, arrives at the Hotel Adlon in Berlin in December 2013.
Boris Khodorkovsky, father of former Russian oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, arrives at the Hotel Adlon in Berlin in December 2013.

Former Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky says Russian investigators are seeking to question his father in connection with the 1998 killing of a Siberian mayor that President Vladimir Putin has suggested the self-exiled Kremlin critic ordered.

Khodorkovsky's press service said on August 5 that his father -- 82-year-old Boris Khodorkovsky, who lives in Russia -- had been called in for questioning by the federal Investigative Committee.

The committee announced in June that it was reopening a probe into the 1998 slaying of Nefteyugansk Mayor Vladimir Petukhov.

Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said on June 30 that the case was reopened due to new evidence that had emerged and that Khodorkovsky, former CEO of the now-dismantled oil company Yukos, "might have personally ordered this murder and a number of other extremely serious crimes."

Yukos's main asset was located in Nefteyugansk at the time of Petukhov's killing.

In an August 5 statement, Khodorkovsky's press service said the move showed that "no one is planning to seriously investigate the Petukhov case."

"The [Investigative Committee's] only goal is to apply pressure on Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his family," it said.

Khodorkovsky was pardoned by Putin and freed in December 2013 after more than a decade in prison on financial-crimes convictions his supporters said were the result of a Kremlin campaign to take over his oil assets and punish him for supporting opponents.

He maintains his innocence and says the authorities filed politically motivated charges against him because of his opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After his release from prison, Khodorkovsky went into self-exile in Switzerland, where he has worked to support Russian political opposition efforts to unseat Putin.

Following the Investigative Committee's announcement that it was reopening the Petukhov case, Khodorkovsky's spokeswoman called the allegations directed at the former oilman "some form of summer madness."

Former Yukos security chief Aleksei Pichugin is currently serving a life sentence after being convicted of organizing Petukhov's killing and other murders. He and his supporters insist he is innocent.

In October 2012, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that Pichugin's rights to liberty and security and his right to a fair trial had been violated, and ordered Russia to pay him 9,500 euros ($13,000) in compensation.

Putin has publicly implied that Khodorkovsky was behind Petukhov's killing.

"What, do you think that the chief of security committed these murders on his own initiative?" Putin said during his annual televised question-and-answer session in 2010.

With reporting by AP and Reuters
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