Mikhail Khodorkovsky will not return to Russia to attend his mother's funeral due to the millions of dollars in unpaid taxes the Russian government claims he still owes, his spokeswoman Olga Pispanen said Tuesday in comments carried by Interfax.
Marina Khodorkovskaya died Sunday at the age of 79 in a Berlin medical clinic after a long battle with cancer. She is due to be buried on Aug. 11 in the Moscow region town of Korallovo, where she lived and ran a lyceum for orphans and those affected by acts of terrorism.
Former Yukos oil company CEO Khodorkovsky was Russia's richest man before he served a 10-year prison term for tax fraud and embezzlement.
Khodorkovsky was freed in December after appealing directly to President Vladimir Putin for release. He had turned to the president upon learning that his mother's condition had become grave.
Despite having been pardoned, Khodorkovsky still owes 17 billion rubles ($473 million) in back taxes to the Russian government. For fear of not being allowed to leave the country as a result of the massive debt, Khodorkovsky will have to sit out his mother's funeral.
The former tycoon currently resides in Switzerland, where he received a residence permit in late March.