Former Yukos vice president Mikhail Yelfimov requests political asylum in Latvia

Mikhail Yelfimov, a former vice president of Russian oil giant Yukos, has requested political asylum in Latvia, an Interior Ministry official said Thursday.

Ministry spokesman Krists Leiskalns would not say if Yelfimov was currently in Latvia or give any further details about his asylum request. Latvian authorities have three months to hand down a decision, said Leiskalns, although a one-year extension can be granted in certain cases.

The company's former head, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was once Russia's richest man, was convicted of fraud and tax evasion earlier this year and sentenced to nine years in a case that many observers said was Kremlin-directed punishment for his funding of opposition parties, the AP reports. It was not immediately clear whether Yelfimov was under investigation in Russia.


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