Russia’s Supreme Court has ordered the early release of Platon Lebedev, the former business partner of ex-oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Both Lebedev and Khodorkovsky were jailed in 2005 convicted of fraud and tax evasion after falling out with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Lebedev had been due for release in May but the court ruled in favour of reducing his sentence. It means he should walk free on Friday.
The move follows December’s decision by Putin to pardon Kremlin critic Khodorkovsky ahead of next month’s Winter Olympics in Sochi.
However, judges maintained a court order demanding Lebedev and Khodorkovsky pay more than 350 million euros in tax arrears. That ruling is thought to be an obstacle to Khodorkovsky’s return to Russia. Immediately on his release he went to Germany.