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05:14 GMT +3 hours19 December 2014
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Russia

Business Ombudsman in Khodorkovsky Release Plea

Russia
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Russia's commissioner for business rights will ask President Vladimir Putin to pardon jailed former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky as part of an amnesty for those convicted of economic crimes, he told the Bloomberg news agency.

Russia's commissioner for business rights will ask President Vladimir Putin to pardon jailed former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky as part of an amnesty for those convicted of economic crimes, he told the Bloomberg news agency.

Boris Titov said he would lobby for the release of 13,000 people jailed for ecopnomic crimes, including the former head of the Yukos oil giant.

The pardons will send a "positive signal" to foreign investors, Titov said in an interview published on Saturday.

"For the investment climate, this would be good news," Titov, who was appointed to the post on Wednesday and reports directly to Putin, told Bloomberg, adding that Khodorkovsky had been in jail for "too long."

Already in custody since 2003, Khodorkovsky, who was once Russia's richest man, was found guilty of embezzlement in December 2010, at a trial widely criticized abroad.

He and his fellow defendant Platon Lebedev are not eligible for release until 2016. Khodorkovsky's two bids for parole have been unsuccessful.

Then-President Dmitry Medvedev said in April the parliament may consider amnesties for those convicted of economic crimes. Medvedev also said in May last year that Khodorkovsky's release would not be "dangerous' for the country.

Khodorkovsky isnists he is a victim of a politically-motivated campaign, a claim denied by the Kremlin.