Khodorkovsky's release from prison will not affect the investment climate in Russia

The release of Mikhail Khodorkovsky will have almost no impact on the investment climate in Russia, according to investors, bankers and government officials.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky was freed in a special operation mode. Decree on pardoning him is dated 20 December 12.00, but on Friday night as Khodorkovsky said in an interview with The New Times, he left the colony accompanied by the Chief of the FSIN management in the Republic of Karelia - technically it was his transfer. By car, it have taken to Petrozavodsk, where Khodorkovsky special board flew to St. Petersburg. There accompanying handed him a passport and put on a private plane, the pilot of which Khodorkovsky and learned that flying to Germany.

Before the evening on December 20 about the whereabouts of the former owner of Yukos was known only from the representative of the Federal Penitentiary Service: Khodorkovsky flies to Berlin to meet with his mother, at his request, he issued a passport. But Marina Khodorkovsky at that time was in the suburban Coral. 18.00 The German Foreign Ministry confirmed: Khodorkovsky landed in Berlin, to the same flew his relatives.

As Khodorkovsky said that the possibility of a pardon he had learned from the lawyers November 12 - he made it clear that the admission of guilt is no longer a prerequisite for a pardon,and the same day a petition was written. No bargaining on conditions of release, no compulsion to write the petition was not, according to people from surrounding Khodorkovsky: perhaps Vladimir Putin, Khodorkovsky simply arranged position.

As told Khodorkovsky "Vedomosti", in a personal letter to Putin, sent in November, he asked for a pardon in connection with severe maternal illness and on the resolution immediately go abroad (the mother is treated in Berlin), promised not to engage in political activity and do not qualify for Yukos assets. No conditions it was not put Khodorkovsky says.

"The possibility of a pardon was discussed for a long time, but always come across a fundamental unwillingness of the Kremlin to let him and Platon Lebedev, without admission of guilt, - says MP SR Ilya Ponomarev. - During Dmitry Medvedev's presidency, a precedent was set - pardon Mohnatkina Sergei, who pleaded not guilty. But at all levels is still in effect setting: not repent - do not let go. " Ponomarev said that Medvedev's entourage did not accidentally set a precedent,hoping that this will provide an opportunity to release Khodorkovsky, but then Putin was not ready for it.

The role of Germany

At yesterday's press conference Khodorkovsky thanked the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The mediator in the talks between Putin and Khodorkovsky's lawyers gave 86-year-old former German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher. Genscher mission began six years ago. In June 2012, Berlin Tegel airport held his first meeting with Putin, it gave the chancellor office in Germany also participated actively Ambassador to Russia Ulrich Brandenburg, writes Frankfurter Allgemaine Zeitung.

The second meeting of Putin with Genscher was held this year. Head of research programs of the German-Russian Forum, Alexander Rahr said that the release of Khodorkovsky proved to be a secret German diplomacy.

Decisions are made by Khodorkovsky Putin, he and his associates have found the most convenient way to solve the problem, and have chosen for this German partner, confirming a special relationship with Germany, said the head of the Center for German Studies, Institute of EuropeLadislav Belov: Ukraine, the energy package - all this could not be the subject of an agreement, it was a matter only for Khodorkovsky.

Putin said Ponomarev, finally decided to pardon Khodorkovsky, when one after the other Western leaders began to announce a boycott of the Olympics, and Putin's visit to Italy, to discuss the theme and the Olympics, has not brought success.

The political effect

It seems certain arrangements for the release did not exist, a political analyst Mikhail Vinogradov said. Behind bars are ex-head of the "Menatep" Platon Lebedev and former head of Yukos security department Alexei Pichugin, there is a "third Yukos case" - no matter how bleak it may be prospects, all these are serious constraints for Khodorkovsky. The solution can also be explained by Putin's reaction to the Ukrainian events, which clearly proves that the politician in prison may be more dangerous opponent than the policy on freedom, says Vinogradov.

Most likely, Putin realized that the "third thing" - it is quite a shame, soon Hodorkovskomu go, and if it comes out after serving a full term, it will become an absolute hero, so Putin decided to release it himself, said a member of the Committee of Civil Initiatives Leonid Gozman.

According to Khodorkovsky, he is not going to be neither a leader nor a sponsor of the opposition, and to take part in Russian political life. Before removing a criminal record (for serious crimes is eight years old, t. E. Until the end of December 2021) he was deprived of the right to be elected. Khodorkovsky is released only from punishment, he explained to "Vedomosti" his lawyer Yelena Lukyanova. To this conviction has been removed, it should be specifically stated in the decree.

Economic effect

At the forum in Davos in January 2012, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov admitted that Khodorkovsky should be pardoned. "This is, after all, a question of investment attractiveness", - he urged the questioner member of the Board of Directors of "Troika Dialogue" Ron Freeman.

But now that Khodorkovsky was released, investors, economists, bankers, and even officials are almost unanimous: it almost does not affect thethe Investment attractiveness of Russia. "I do not know the impact on the investment climate ... hopefully positive," - cautious Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Klepach (according to "Interfax" quote). To slow the growth were and are not political reasons: high interest rates, administrative barriers, is not a good external environment, says a senior federal official, but obvious and image problems. It is unlikely that they can be immediately solved, but it is still a landmark decision of the president, it should improve the investment climate, he hopes.

"Never" - that other federal official said the question was whether the Khodorkovsky case the reason for the refusal to invest in Russia: "I have this from the investors have not heard." Oddly enough, the Khodorkovsky case is not particularly worried investors, assures and official financial and economic bloc: "This topic I discussed with them recently, when there was a risk of a third case, and immediately after the arrest of a businessman - and they always say that it is not the main a risk factor that the criminal sentence for tax offenses - ordinaryeaten in Western countries, you just made it ugly and rude. "

Two or three years ago, the release of Khodorkovsky would be a strong positive signal that increases the attractiveness of Russian shares, said the chief economist at HSBC in Russia and Ukraine Alexander Morozov, but investors in the past few years has not raised this issue, they had plenty of other reasons to be disappointed in Russia, they outweigh the release of Khodorkovsky.

This anti-crisis attempt to save the decaying Russian economy and attract investors, the critical Deputy Director General of Transparency International Andrei Zhvirblis, but business understands that everything depends on the decision of certain officials. Much more important for the investment climate overall system, says federal official: the decision to return the investigators the right to institute tax affairs without the involvement of all of the tax reform and the positive signals will negate.

The head of the international investment bank's Moscow office said that the story of Khodorkovsky often pops up in conversations with investors, but after so many years of a decision to release Khodorkovsky radicalto not change their relationship. There have been many other events, including the story of the minority shareholders of TNK-BP and antigeysky law, which means at least for investors, he says.

The third case of Yukos

Genscher brought the story up to the point at which the Yukos affair should begin to end, Khodorkovsky hopes, but until the investigation are questions to people who are in Russia.

About a third case against Khodorkovsky in early December, said Deputy Prosecutor General Alexander Zvyagintsev. "Interfax" was told that we are talking about the legalization of $ 10 billion and that the experts who analyzed the second Yukos case, trying to contribute to changing the legislation on money and in the interests of Khodorkovsky. Khodorkovsky himself seriously believed that a new business can appear, says Ponomarev, who met with Khodorkovsky in July. According to Ponomarev, if Khodorkovsky refused to pardon, the third thing would start to unwind from the spring, and then to hit another two dozen people. "Third Yukos case" does not exist - it's a PR security forces, launched in response to the petition for clemencyTo provoke the wrong side of Khodorkovsky on public reaction, the man says in his entourage.

After Putin's statement that the third case of Yukos has no future, it their really is not sure an employee of the prosecution.

Get comments of official representatives of the Prosecutor General and the TFR could not.

When Khodorkovsky return

Khodorkovsky said that the return to Russia it does not allow the lawsuit tax department to recover from him and Lebedev 17.4 billion rubles. The claim satisfied the Meshchansky District Court of Moscow in 2005. In 2012, Vladimir Lukin, Commissioner for Human Rights filed a claim with the Moscow City Court to annul that decision, as previously Arbitration Court of Moscow has sought to Yukos at the request of tax authorities around 98 billion rubles. - Including on the grounds stated in the criminal case. The Moscow City Court refused to Lukin, but he appealed to the Supreme Court.

According to the Federal Tax Service information for Khodorkovsky as of 18.12.2003 listed arrears of 53 million rubles. and a penalty of 114 million rubles.

Khodorkovsky said in Berlin on t press conferenceth, that he has no plans to return to business.

According to him, his financial situation does not put before him the need to earn money. Its time Khodorkovsky wanted to devote to debt collection to people who are still in prison, and the whole Russian society. Earlier, Khodorkovsky Paul (son of former businessman) has told to "Echo of Moscow" that the basis of family status - is the dividend payment to shareholders of Yukos for a few years - to the first attack on the company.

In 2005, Khodorkovsky has transferred the right to dispose of their shares in Group Menatep (the main asset of which is Yukos) Leonid Nevzlin.

Most of the foreign assets of Yukos has been issued to offshore Yukos Finance BV, which was included in the trust. On behalf of the Trust being the protection of the interests of the former shareholders of Yukos in international courts. But, according to close to Khodorkovsky man who has no relation to the Yukos Finance and its interest in these lawsuits is absent. Khodorkovsky's release from prison does not automatically recover its rights to Yukos assets and "Menatep", says the man nearcue to Khodorkovsky.