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Brazil court issues Berezovsky arrest warrant for money laundering

[JURIST] The Brazilian federal court [official website, in Portuguese] has issued an arrest warrant [Itar-Tass report] for exiled business tycoon Boris Berezovsky [Wikipedia profile; JURIST news archive] on charges of money laundering, Russian state news agency Itar-Tass [official website] reported Friday. Brazil also asked Interpol [official website] to issue an international arrest warrant. The case is related to a Berezovsky-linked sponsor [Wikipedia backgrounder] of Brazil's Corinthians soccer club [team website, in Portuguese]. In 2004, the sponsor spent millions on acquiring new players for the club, which state prosecutor Jose Reinaldo Guimaraes Carneiro said aroused suspicions, as the club had been "in the red for years." Carneiro alleged that sufficient circumstantial evidence exists linking the investment in the club, mostly by Berezovsky, with money laundering. Berezovsky, who has been living in the UK since fleeing Russia, dismissed the allegations as "an extension of the Kremlin's politicised campaign" against him.

On Thursday a Moscow court began trying Berezovsky in absentia [JURIST report] for allegedly embezzling millions from Russian national airline Aeroflot [corporate website]. Berezovsky left Russia in 2001 after falling out of favor with Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website] after vocally opposing the war in Chechnya [Wikipedia backgrounder]. Russian authorities have demanded that the UK extradite Berezovsky [JURIST report], who is also facing charges of allegedly plotting a coup [JURIST report] against Russian President Vladimir Putin. Last Friday, Russia criticized the UK [JURIST report] for its refusal to prosecute Berezovsky on charges of inciting terrorism overseas with calls to overthrow Putin by force [Guardian interview]. The Guardian has more. AP has additional coverage.

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