A Russian court Thursday ordered the release from jail of the business partner of oil tycoon MIkhail Khodorkovsky.

Khodorkovsky was released from prison a month ago after a pardon from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The court Thursday said Platon Lebedev, pictured above, is eligible for immediate release.

Both Khodorkovsky and Lebedev still face back tax claims in Russia.

Khodorkovsky was arrested in 2003 and put on trial twice, first for tax evasion and fraud in 2005 and then in 2010 for stealing the oil produced by his oil company, Yukos.

After Khodorkovsky’s fall, Yukos was put into bankruptcy under a $26 billion bill for back taxes. Most of the company’s assets were sold in auction to Rosneft, Russia’s state oil company.

Khodorkovsky left Russia after his pardon and is now living in Switzerland.

Khodorkovsky said he will not return to Russia because the tax cases could result in his travel out of Russia being restricted.

He and Lebedev each spent nearly  10 years in prison on fraud and tax evasion charges.


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