(Reuters) – Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian oil tycoon jailed for a decade after criticizing Vladimir Putin, was freed by a presidential pardon on Friday and immediately flew to Berlin where he hoped to be reunited with his family.

Once Russia’s richest man, the 50-year-old looked pale and thin but happy in a photograph of him being greeted by German well-wishers on the tarmac after landing on a private jet.

President Putin, who surprised Russians and pleased the business community by announcing Khodorkovsky’s pardon on Thursday, said he was acting out of “principles of humanity”.

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