By Alexei Anishchuk and Timothy Heritage MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin is to pardon one of his best known opponents, jailed oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, in what may be a gesture to critics of his human rights record before Russia hosts the Winter Olympics. Putin made the announcement that he would soon free Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man, after a marathon news conference in which he exuded confidence that he has reasserted his authority in the face of street protests. Khodorkovsky, 50, spectacularly fell out with Putin a decade ago and had his Yukos oil company dissolved following his arrest on fraud and tax evasion charges in 2003. He became Putin's nemesis, a symbol of what investors say is the Kremlin's abuse of the courts for political ends - and share prices rose in Moscow on the news he would be pardoned.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will sell 41.35 million 'B' shares in the company, worth about $2.3 billion, for tax purposes, a filing with US stock market regulators said Thursday. These shares will allow Zuckerberg to retain power over Facebook because each has 10 voting rights. Proceeds from the sale will allow the young billionaire to pay taxes due on the exercise of an option enabling him to obtain 60 million additional 'B' Facebook shares. Facebook shares, which have risen strongly in recent months, were down 4.1 percent in pre-market trading, having closed at $55.57 on Wednesday.