Putin’s promises don’t reassure exiled economist

In this Monday, May 5, 2008 file photo Russian army S-300 air defense missiles move during a final rehearsal of Victory Day parade at Red Square, with St. Basil Cathedral, right in the background, in Moscow. President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday, June 4, 2013 that Russia hasn't yet fulfilled a contract to send sophisticated S-300 air defense missile systems to Syria to avoid tilting the balance of power in the region. Russian officials have acknowledged that Moscow signed a deal for the delivery of the powerful missiles a few years ago, but have been coy about whether any of them have been delivered. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev, File)

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian economist who fled to Paris from what he calls a politically motivated criminal investigation says he won’t return to Russia, despite President Vladimir Putin’s assurances.

Sergei Guriev told the Associated Press Tuesday that he did not feel safe to return to the jurisdiction of Russian investigators. Putin said at a European Union-Russia summit earlier Tuesday that Guriev had nothing to fear if he had not broken the law.

“Putin said that before the Investigative Committee started doing all its nasty things to me and threatening me. As a free person I would rather be safe than sorry,” Guriev said.

Guriev left fearing he could become a suspect in a case linked to jailed former oil baron Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man.

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