Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, pardoned by Russian President Vladimir Putin after 10 years in jail, said in remarks published today that he would not go into politics or seek to regain assets of his former oil company, Yukos.
Khodorkovsky, who flew to Berlin after his release from a prison near the Arctic Circle on Saturday, said that there were no conditions attached to his release and that he had made no admission of guilt in asking Putin for a pardon.
"I do not intend to get involved in politics and do not intend to fight for the return of assets," Khodorkovsky told the Russian magazine The New Times in an interview.
Once Russia's richest man, Khodorkovsky had been in jail since his arrest in 2003 on fraud and tax evasion charges. He had been convicted in two trials that Kremlin critics say were politically motivated punishment for challenging Putin.
Yukos was broken up and sold off after his arrest. Its main production asset ended up in the hands of state oil company Rosneft, which is now Russia's biggest producer and is headed by a close Putin ally, Igor Sechin.
Khodorkovsky, whose mother is ill and who said he requested the pardon for family reasons, said he would return only if he is certain he could leave again at any time for family reasons.
"Our authorities can say honestly that they did not exile me," he said. "But knowing our reality, we can absolutely clearly understand that they suggested I leave the country."