LONDON, (Pakistan Point News - APP -8th nov,2016) : Former oil tycoon and Kremlin foe Mikhail Khodorkovsky on Tuesday urged British MPs to punish corrupt Russian officials with assets in Britain, saying broader sanctions on Russia did not work. In an appearance at the British parliament's foreign affairs committee, Khodorkovsky also ruled out closer ties between Russia and the West, saying President Vladimir Putin's only objective was preserving power.
"I don't think there is any point in taking broad-based measures such as toughening sanctions... They mostly unite society around the Kremlin," said the 53-year-old former owner of the Yukos oil giant. European leaders are due to review economic sanctions against Russia at a summit in December amid sharp differences over how effective they are. "When we're talking about relations with representatives of the regime, with Putin's inner circle, here Britain can do a lot," said Khodorkovsky, who now lives in Britain.
"Britain is quite popular with Russian political elites as a place for illegally obtained money." Once Russia's richest man, Khodorkovsky headed Yukos until his dramatic arrest on a Siberian runway in 2003. He spent a decade behind bars following two highly controversial tax evasion and fraud trials that were widely seen as the Kremlin's retribution for him getting involved in politics. After he was unexpectedly pardoned by Putin and released in late 2013, Khodorkovsky moved abroad and he now supports various opposition projects in Russia including backing candidates in elections. Khodorkovsky told the MPs that Russian authorities had given the opposition "a quiet voice", adding: "If it gets a bit louder then it's shut down." Asked about the state of human rights in Russia, Khodorkovsky laughed, saying: "There aren't any!"