MOSCOW, December 28 (RAPSI) – A state-appointed attorney has filed an appeal against the arrest in absentia of former Yukos owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky who stands charged with organizing the murder of Nefteyugansk mayor Vladimir Petukhov in 1998, Yunona Tsareva, press secretary for Moscow's Basmanny District Court, told RAPSI on Monday.

On December 23, the Basmanny District Court of Moscow issued an arrest warrant for Khodorkovsky and put him on the international wanted list.

Khodorkovsky who is currently abroad earlier said that he would not participate in another criminal trial of him in Russia.

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.