Jailed former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky has been transferred from Moscow to a prison camp in an undisclosed location, his lawyers said, decrying the move as an attempt to block a parole hearing.
Khodorkovsky's defense team said he filed again for parole last Tuesday after a Moscow court refused to hear a first request on the grounds that he did not supply the proper documents.
Lawyer Vadim Klyuvgant said the transfer was aimed "at creating an artificial delay of the hearing of our client's application for parole."
He said it would be easier for the authorities to reject his request for early release if the review was held far from Moscow and from journalists who could spotlight violations.
"It is clear that they are trying to prevent hearing the petition for parole in Moscow since there are no legitimate grounds for a denial," he said in a statement on his client's web site Friday.
Khodorkovsky's lawyers said both they and his wife were earlier denied a meeting on the grounds Khodorkovsky was being readied for the journey.
Itar-Tass cited a law enforcement source confirming that Khodorkovsky had been transferred and said relatives would be informed of his new location within 10 days.
Khodorkovsky was jailed in 2003 after falling foul of the Kremlin under then-President Vladimir Putin. He is serving a 13-year sentence and is due to be released in 2016.
Ahead of a second trial against him, Khodorkovsky was transferred in February 2009 to a Moscow jail from a Siberian prison camp outside Chita, where he was serving his first sentence.
It was unclear whether he was sent back to Chita.
Leonid Nevzlin, a former business partner of Khodorkovsky, has bought a 20 percent stake in the dovish Haaretz daily for $41 million, The Associated Press reported Sunday.
The deal leaves the paper’s founding Schocken family with a 60 percent share. Germany’s DuMont Schauberg publishing company holds the remaining equity.
Nevzlin fled to Israel in 2003 after the Russian government started going after Yukos. In 2008, he was convicted in Russia in absentia of conspiring to murder.