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MOSCOW, December 20. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to pardon former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, freeing him from penalty, according to the press service of the Kremlin.
“Guided by the principles of humanity, I resolve to pardon convict Mikhail Borisovich Khodorkovsky, born in 1963, a native of Moscow, freeing him from further penalty of imprisonment.”
The decree comes into force from the date of its signing.
His lawyer said that Mikhail Khodorkovsky may be released from prison before the end of Friday, December 20.
Entire family of former CEO of the oil corporation YUKOS, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, is filled with joy over his release from prison where he has spent more than ten years but family members are totally unaware of how the release took place and where he is now, Mikhail’s father Boris Khodorkovsky said.
“We’re really filled with joy and are looking forward to seeing our son,” he said adding he still had no idea about how Mikhail had written a petition for pardon.
“We’ve read Mikhail has been released from the penal colony and has left its territory,” Boris Khodorkovsky said. “We trust the information and feel joyful.”
“This petition will soon be granted,” he promised.
Putin reminded that convicted have a legal right to submit a petition for a pardon. “He (Khodorkovskiy) has not done it, but very recently a pardon request has been made (on his behalf),” the president said.
According to the president, Khodorkovsky referred to humanitarian circumstances in his letter, such as his mother's illness.
Soon after, the lawyer of Mikhail Khodorkovsky said she does not know if her client has written a petition to the president asking to pardon him.
"I'm currently Khodorkovsky's lawyer, but I know nothing about his writing a petition for pardon. Khodorkovsky did not mention it at our previous meeting or before," lawyer Karina Moskalenko told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
In May 2005, Moscow’s Meshchansky Court found Lebedev and Khodorkovsky guilty under several articles of the Russian Criminal Code, including fraud and tax evasion and sentenced them to nine years in prison. Later the Moscow City Court reduced the term to eight years.On December 30, 2010, the Khamovnichesky District Court sentenced Lebedev and Khodorkovsky to 14 years in prison for oil theft and money laundering in a second criminal case.
Their sentences were later reduced to 11 years by the Moscow City Court presidium, while the Supreme Court cut the prison terms further by two months.
Lebedev is to be set free in May 2014 and Khodorkovsky in August 2014.
Putin told the Thursday news conference that he didn't know the details of the third case against Yukos. He said he did not see any prospects in this sense and that he did not understand that kind of case that might be. "I don't see anything dangerous for anyone there,” he said.
Well-informed sources later told Itar-Tass Tass that Khodorkovsky and Lebedev were not suspects in the so-called third case against Yukos.