Europe

Irish court orders Russian oligarch's assets unfrozen

FILE - In this March 9, 2014 file photo, Russian former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky cheers people during a rally in Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine. A Dublin judge ordered authorities on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, to unfreeze 100 million euros ($107 million) in cash belonging to Khodorkovsky, ruling that police had provided no evidence that the funds were illegally gained as Russia contends. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

FILE - In this March 9, 2014 file photo, Russian former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky cheers people during a rally in Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine. A Dublin judge ordered authorities on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, to unfreeze 100 million euros ($107 million) in cash belonging to Khodorkovsky, ruling that police had provided no evidence that the funds were illegally gained as Russia contends. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)  (The Associated Press)

A Dublin judge has ordered authorities to unfreeze 100 million euros ($107 million) in cash belonging to an exiled Russian oligarch, ruling that police had provided no evidence that the funds were illegally gained as Russia contends.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former chief of the Yukos oil company and once Russia's richest man, welcomed Wednesday's judgment in a statement from his adopted London home. Russia expressed surprise that the judge failed to keep Khodorkovsky's Irish-banked assets frozen, given his Russian convictions for fraud, embezzlement and money laundering.

Ireland froze the funds in 2011 as part of an Irish police probe into whether the money had been illegally laundered from Russia via a Gibraltar-based investment company.

Khodorkovsky was imprisoned in Russia from 2003 to 2013 after publicly criticizing Russian leader Vladimir Putin.