Once Russia’s richest man and its most powerful oligarch, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, 42, is now the country’s most famous inmate. He was jailed for fraud and tax evasion last year. His supporters contend that he was imprisoned because of his growing interest in politics, and his opposition to President Putin. The Kremlin claims that he was a latter-day Al Capone who was involved in organised crime who had to be stopped.
When Forbes published its first Russian rich list in 2004, Khodorkovsky headed it with an estimated £8bn fortune, ahead of Roman Abramovich. That figure is now estimated to have dwindled to several hundred million pounds, and he does not feature on this year’s rich list since he has been all but stripped of his assets.
Married (second time round) with four children, the original source of his wealth was oil, via the Yukos company that he built up during the 1990s. He is serving his eight-year prison sentence 3,100 miles east of Moscow in the remote Siberian penal colony of Yag 14/10, where his current existence bears little resemblance to the life he knew outside of prison. Khodorkovsky was recently attacked by a fellow inmate with a cobbler’s knife.