The oldest son of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, jailed ex-Yukos CEO has said that he is afraid to return to Russia, for the fear of possible political pressure.
Pavel Khodorkovsky, 25, has been living in self-imposed exile in the US since 2003. He works as a project manager in a media company in New York.
"My father has advised me not to return [to Russia] while he is in jail because I could come under pressure [from authorities] in the hope that my father would stop being so active [in his defence] during the court hearings," Khodorkovsky Jnr said.
He said he had no plans to follow his father's professional career in the energy industry but had his own business projects in the electricity sector.
According to Pavel, the Khodorkovsky family no longer owns any Yukos assets because his father has given them away to his business partners before the trial in an attempt to save the company.
"Many friends have turned away from our family in the last seven years,” said Pavel. “The ones that remained are those who are interested in my father as a person, rather than a business partner.”
Mikhail Khodorkovsky has four children from two marriages. The three children from his second marriage, a daughter and twin boys, live in Russia with his second wife, Inna.
Russia's one-time richest man is serving an eight-year sentence in Russia for fraud and tax evasion. He is now facing new charges of stealing $9.6 billion from the $15.8 billion profit generated by Yukos between 1999 and 2003, as well as 350 million tons of oil.