Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s arrest and prosecution – along with Platon Lebedev – spooked international investors many of whom saw it as the Kremlin exploiting the courts for political ends
His release caused some initial cheer within the business community and a slight rise in share prices on the main Moscow stock exchange,but that was only temporary.
Analysts said it was not likely to change the minds of investors who remain wary of Russia’s justice system and who over the last five years have taken $400 billion out of the country.
They are very aware of the fate of not just Khodorkovsky but also of Yukos, the oil company he ran. Once the largest in Russia, it was dismantled and sold at auction at knockdown prices.
The defunct firm’s prize production asset ended up under the control of state oil company Rosneft, now headed by a close Putin ally Igor Sechin.
Sechin said he sees no threat of legal action from Khodorkovsky to claim back any of his former energy empire.
Rosneft now has an alliance with US major Exxon Mobil. It has also sold a minority stake to Britain’s BP which has had a rocky ride through the unpredictable Russian judicial system, and which many companies still feel is likely to favour Moscow or government-controlled firms in any dispute.