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GENEVA, March 30, /ITAR-TASS/. Former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been granted a one-year resident permit in Switzerland and plans to settle in Canton St. Gallen, Switzerland’s migration authorities said on Sunday.
“His application was approved," Martin Reichlin, a spokesman for the Federal Migration Office, told Itar-Tass over the phone, adding that Khodorkovsky’s one-year resident permit could be prolonged.
The permit was granted to Khodorkovsky on March 27. According to Reichlin, the 50-year-old former Russian oligarch has opted to settle in St. Gallen, since his family is living in this canton. At the same time, Reichlin did not rule out that Khodorkovsky had been guided by considerations of favourable taxation environment.
In line with Swiss immigration laws, Khodorkovsky had to first win approval for settling in a specific canton. St. Gallen justified its decision with the substantial tax revenue it expected to gain from Khodorkovsky's residency, the spokesman added.
Khodorkovsky arrived in Switzerland in December 2013, several days after the Swiss authorities granted him a three-month Schengen visa. On February 20, he submitted an application for residency in Switzerland.
The Swiss migration authorities stressed that resident permit did not imply granting a political asylum or Swiss citizenship. In the latter case, a person needs to have lived in the country for at least 12 years.
According to local media, Khodorkovsky and his family are expected to live in Rapperswil-Jona at the southern end of Lake Zurich, which has a population of 26,000.