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Russian prosecutors indict Berezovsky on fraud, money laundering charges

[JURIST] Russia's Prosecutor General's Office [official website] on Tuesday announced the indictment [press release, in Russian] of exiled business tycoon Boris Berezovsky [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] for fraud and money laundering. The charges, filed under the Russian Criminal Code [Article 174 text], stem from a deal arranged between Russian car manufacturers AvtoVAZ [corporate website, in Russian] and LogoVAZ that left 5560 cars unpaid for and resulted in the unauthorized use of approximately $24 million. Prosecutors allege that Berezovsky and his associates used the money for investments in real estate, stock in media companies and other expenditures. RIA Novosti has local coverage.

A former associate of Boris Yeltsin and a political opponent of current Russian Prime Minister and former president Vladimir Putin, Berezovsky has been the target of several past criminal proceedings. In March, the Russian Prosecutor General's Office opened an investigation to determine if Berezovsky falsely claimed the country's secret service had targeted him for assassination [JURIST report]. In 2007, he was accused of plotting a coup [JURIST report] against Putin. Berezovsky currently resides in the United Kingdom as a political refugee. Britain has refused Russian extradition requests, leading a Russian court in 2007 to sentence Berezovsky in absentia to six years in prison after he was found guilty [JURIST report] of embezzling 214 million rubles from Russian national airline Aeroflot.

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