MOSCOW, December 9 (RAPSI) – Former Yukos owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky rejected accusations of being involved in conspiracy behind murder of Nefteyugansk mayor Vladimir Petukhov in 1998, RIA Novosti reported on Wednesday.
“I’ll put it in short: the murder (of Petukhov) was solved the same year it occurred, executors were arrested, released and later killed”, Khodorkovsky said.
Khodorkovsky also said that he was summoned to Russia by the Investigative Committee in order to answer questions regarding the murder of Petukhov.
On June 30, the Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said that Khodorkovsky may be summoned for questioning in relation to the murder of Petukhov.
According to investigators, a criminal group killed several people between 1998 and 2002, including Petukhov, on orders from former Yukos shareholder Leonid Nevzlin. In 2009, Nevzlin, who moved to Israel in 2003, was sentenced in absentia to life in prison. Alexei Pichugin, former chief of economic security at Yukos, was found guilty of murdering Petukhov and receive a life sentence in 2008.
The murder of Petukhov provoked a public outcry 17 years ago, when several media outlets speculated that he was directly involved in the re-division of Russia’s oil assets. Investigation into Petukhov’s murder case was not closed but suspended.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an executive order releasing Khodorkovsky, who spent 10 years in prison for fraud and embezzlement, on December 20, 2013. The same day, the released tycoon went to Berlin on a chartered flight.