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Russian prosecutors pushing for nine-year embezzlement sentence for Berezovsky

[JURIST] Russian prosecutors will push for a nine-year prison sentence for exiled business tycoon Boris Berezovsky [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] in connection with charges that he embezzled millions from the Russian national airline Aeroflot [corporate website], a lawyer appointed to Berezovsky's case said Monday. Berezovsky, who has been residing in the UK since 2001 as a political refugee and who has been tried in absentia since proceedings began in July [JURIST report], has denied the allegations and refused to use his lawyers to represent himself, calling the charges against politically motivated. Proceedings will resume later this month.

Berezovsky has faced a flurry of accusations by Russian authorities. After leaving Russia in 2001 because of his discord with Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website] for vocally opposing the war in Chechnya [BBC timeline], Berezovsky was granted asylum in Great Britain. Russian authorities have demanded that the UK extradite Berezovsky, who has been charged with plotting a coup [JURIST reports] against Putin. In July, Russian prosecutors brought fresh charges against the ousted businessman that in 1997 he took part in a $13 million scheme to embezzle credit funds from SBS-Agro Bank [EBRD profile], which he then owned, to purchase real estate in southern France. Berezovsky has denied those charges as well. RIA Novosti has more.

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