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Russia’s lower house of parliament has approved a pardon for thousands of prisoners convicted of business-related crimes.

The amnesty will apply to those who have committed offences such as insurance fraud, business fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. Around 9,000 prisoners are expected to benefit.

The bill was put forward by President Putin last month. He hopes it will improve the development of new business and change the way that the courts treat financial disputes.

Those freed will have to pay compensation for any damages their crimes caused.

One man not expected to be freed is former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky. He was convicted of fraud in 2005 and 2010 and is an outspoken critic of Putin.

Anyone with more than one conviction will not be pardoned.

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