- Exiled businessman Chichvarkin to answer questions from London
- Exiled businessman Chichvarkin wary of new charges - lawyer
- Russia drops kidnapping case against exiled businessman Chichvarkin (Update 1)
- Russia drops kidnapping case against fugitive businessman Chichvarkin
Fugitive telecoms entrepreneur Yevgeny Chichvarkin, whose abduction charges in Russia earlier this week were dropped, said however his return home was highly unlikely.
"I may return if a new elite is elected through direct elections and builds a free and strong state," Chichvarkin said during a London-Moscow video link organized by RIA Novosti.
Chichvarkin, 36, who has spent the past two years in London fighting extradition to Russia, added that this prospect was highly unlikely and he felt that it was too dangerous to return to Russia.
Russian investigators said Monday they dropped charges against Chichvarkin, the former CEO of cell phone retailer Euroset, after what was widely viewed as a politically motivated case.
Russia has been seeking his extradition since he fled to Britain in late 2008. Unwilling to repeat the fate of jailed ex-oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Chichvarkin left Moscow after receiving information he was about to be arrested.
"I would be happy to return to Russia because this is my homeland but I am afraid of new prosecution and I have all the grounds to think they will follow because they've already said I'm guilty," he said.
Chichvarkin said he feared that smuggling charges could be brought against him as part of a 2005 criminal case. The businessman was then accused of organizing large-scale mobile phone and accessory smuggling, but the accusations were lifted.
The businessman's lawyer said there were real fears that his client could be brought to criminal account as part of the 2005 case. Chichvarkin still has the status of a witness in the case, but this status could be changed, he added.
The Westminster Magistrates Court in London has invariably blocked Chichvarkin's extradition, saying he was unlikely to get a fair trial at home.
Chichvarkin said last week he would return home if the Russian Prosecutor General's Office annulled the extradition warrant.
The former Euroset CEO said his company lost several hundred million dollars after the criminal case was opened while Russia experienced a deep economic crisis, as many countries.
He said he has no assets in Russia left. "I sold everything for nothing shortly after my departure," Chichvarkin said.
MOSCOW, January 26 (RIA Novosti)
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
Image Galleries: The Pearl of Russia's Far East
Infographics: Nobel Peace Prize