Russian court to free Khodorkovsky's business partner

Thursday 23 January 2014 22.35
Mikhail Khodorkovsky was released on pardon last year (Pic: EPA)
Mikhail Khodorkovsky was released on pardon last year (Pic: EPA)

The ex-business partner of former oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky will be released from prison early under a ruling by Russia's Supreme Court.

Platon Lebedev and Mr Khodorkovsky were sentenced to jail in 2005 after falling out with Vladimir Putin.

The president pardoned Mr Khodorkovsky last month, ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics, but Lebedev did not seek a pardon and stayed in jail.

Lebedev had been due for release in May, but the Supreme Court ruled that his sentence should be reduced and that he would be able to walk free on Friday.

It did not change a court order under which both men must pay 17 billion roubles in tax arrears - an obstacle to Mr Khodorkovsky's return to Russia after leaving for Germany in December.