Putin's promises don't reassure exiled economist

Max Seddon, Associated Press
Associated Press
Putin's promises don't reassure exiled economist

FILE - In this July 25, 2012 file photo Sergei Guriev, left, attends a meeting with premier Dmitry Medvedev, right, in Moscow. Sergei Guriev told the AP by telephone on Friday, May 31, 2013 that he wanted to escape pressure from a new criminal investigation around jailed oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Yekaterina Shtukina, Government Press service, 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.