The eldest son of jailed ex-Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky said in a video interview on Wednesday that he was afraid of returning to Russia over possible political pressure, Infox.ru web portal reported.
Pavel Khodorkovsky, 25, has been residing in the United States in self-imposed exile since 2003. He works as a project manager in a media company in New York.
"My father has advised me not to return [to Russia] while he is in jail because I could come under pressure [from authorities] in the hope that my father would stop being so active [in his defense] during the court hearings," Khodorkovsky said.
He said he had no plans to follow his father's professional career in the energy industry but had his own business projects, particularly in the sphere of electric power industry.
According to Pavel, the Khodorkovsky family does not own any Yukos assets because his father has given them away to his business partners before the trial in an attempt to save the company.
"Many friends have turned cold shoulder on our family in the last seven years. Only those remained who are interested in my father as a person rather than as a business partner," Pavel said.
Mikhail Khodorkovsky has four children from two marriages. The three children from his second marriage live in Russia with his second wife, Inna.
Once Russia's richest man is serving an eight-year sentence in Russia for fraud and tax evasion. He is now facing new charges of stealing $9.6 billion from the $15.8 billion profit generated by Yukos between 1999 and 2003, as well as 350 million tons of oil.
Khodorkovsky told the Khamovniki court earlier that he could not understand what he was accused of because his specific actions were not described in the criminal case.
Conditions at pre-trial detention facilities where Khodorkovsky is being held are harsher than in an ordinary Russian prison or labor camp. However, his defense counsel said Khodorkovsky was not so much concerned about his own situation as about the ruling setting a precedent for others accused of economic crimes.
The jailed ex-tycoon went on a three-day hunger strike on Monday to protest the court's decision to extend his detention in a Moscow prison until August 17.
MOSCOW, May 20 (RIA Novosti)