Russia's top investigative body has declared Mikhail Khodorkovsky as arrested in absentia, two years after the Kremlin critic and former oil tycoon was pardoned after serving 10 years in prison.

Investigators earlier this month accused Khodorkovsky of involvement in the 1998 murder of a Siberian mayor. On Tuesday, Russian officials searched the residences of several employees of his Open Russia foundation in connection with a probe into a privatization deal.

The Investigative Committee on Wednesday announced his arrest in absentia and called for an international manhunt.

A spokeswoman for Khodorkovsky, Maria Logan, said he now is based in London and was unlikely to turn himself in.