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Khodorkovsky makes private visit to Israel

File photo taken on December 22, 2013 shows former Russian oil tycoon and Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky leaving the Wall Museum at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin after a press conference
Mikhail Khodorkovsky leaves after a press conference at the Wall Museum at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin on December 22, 2013

Former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was freed by Moscow last month after a decade in jail, has travelled from Switzerland to Israel on a private visit, his spokesman said Friday.

Khodorkovsky, who was in Switzerland with his family, "is on a short private visit" in Israel, his spokesman David Krikler told AFP, confirming news reports.

He would not comment on the exact nature of Khodorkovsky's trip, but according to media reports, the man who was once the wealthiest person in Russia was visiting a former business partner.

Israeli business news website Calcalist reported that Khodorkovsky met "his friend and partner Leonid Nevzlin," and "was expected to meet with Vladimir Dubov and Mikhail Brudno," who were his partners at Russian oil giant Yukos.

Nevzlin, Brudno and Dubov fled to Israel after facing fraud charges in Russia in 2005.

Krikler did not say when Khodorkovsky planned to return to Switzerland.

Freed on December 20 following a pardon by arch-rival President Vladimir Putin, the 50-year-old had stayed in Germany but was last week granted a three-month Swiss visa.

On Sunday, in a Swiss television interview, Khodorkovsky said travelled to Switzerland with his wife to take their twin sons back to school there.

Swiss media have reported that Khodorkovsky's wife and their sons live in western Switzerland's Chernex village which overlooks Lake Geneva.

An aide on Sunday said that the former oil tycoon "has not yet made any plans about permanent residency in Switzerland or anywhere else".

Khodorkovsky's supporters say his decade-long imprisonment was Putin's revenge against him for financing the opposition and openly criticising the Russian leader.

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