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MOSCOW, December 9. /TASS/. Former head of the now defunct oil giant Yukos Mikhail Khodorkovsky said on Wednesday he would testify only to the Swiss authorities in the case of a Siberian mayor murder.
Khodorkovsky, who is living abroad, was summoned to Russia’s Investigative Committee on December 11 to testify in the case of the murder of Nefteyugansk Mayor Vladimir Petukhov.
"If the country where I’m now living deems it necessary to get answers to these questions [formulated by investigators], I’ll answer these questions," Khodorkovsky said at an online conference in the office of the Open Russia opposition movement.
Khodorkovsky said earlier on Wednesday he didn't intend to go to Russia to be questioned at the Investigative Committee over the case of the Siberian mayor’s murder.
"I can say one thing: I won’t take part in this show," the ex-Yukos chief said.
A TASS source familiar with the matter said earlier the ex-Yukos head was charged in absentia and investigators might request his arrest in absentia and his inclusion in an international wanted list, if he failed to appear before the Investigative Committee on December 11.Nefteyugansk Mayor Petukhov was murdered in the morning of June 26, 1998 as he was walking to his office. Two unidentified persons gunned down Petukhov and his body guard Kokoshkin. The mayor died while the body guard was wounded. The mayor’s death was preceded by a conflict with Yukos, a single-industry enterprise in Nefteyugansk.
The Moscow City Court sentenced Yukos ex-security chief Alexey Pichugin to life imprisonment for this murder. He was convicted for organizing three murders and four assassination attempts.
Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said on June 30 that investigators had reopened the criminal case into the murder of Petukhov over new information that ex-Yukos head Khodorkovsky could have ordered the murder of Petukhov and some other crimes.
The former head of oil giant Yukos, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and his business partner Platon Lebedev were found guilty of embezzlement and tax evasion in May 2005 and sentenced to nine years in prison.
While serving their prison term, both Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were found guilty of embezzlement and money laundering in a second criminal case in December 2010 and sentenced to 14 years in prison, with account taken of the jail term they had served.
Khodorkovsky was pardoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin and left prison in December 2013. Lebedev was released in early 2014.
Media reports said the ex-Yukos head wrote in his pardon request that he pledged not to go into politics.