вторник, 25 ноября 2008 г.

Russian prosecutors bring new fraud charges against Berezovsky

MOSCOW, November 25 (RIA Novosti) - Russian prosecutors have brought new charges of large-scale fraud against fugitive Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, the General Prosecutor's Office said on its website on Tuesday.

The prosecutors have referred the criminal case to the courts against Berezovsky and Yuly Dubov, accused of money laundering during a deal for the delivery of a large batch of cars, involving Russia's AvtoVAZ carmaker, the website said.

Over a dozen criminal probes have been launched in Russia against Berezovsky, a one-time close associate of late president Boris Yeltsin, including plotting to stage a coup and embezzling $13 million from a leading Russian bank.

Russia has issued multiple warrants for Berezovsky's arrest and has repeatedly demanded his extradition from Britain, where he was granted political asylum in 2000.

According to investigators, Berezovsky, who was the mastermind behind an organized criminal group, used his personal connections with the management of AvtoVAZ to arrange for a deal in 1994 between AvtoVAZ and another automaker, LogoVAZ, managed by the oligarch and other group members.

"Under the contract, AvtoVAZ undertook to supply 20,000 VAZ cars of different models to LogoVAZ at prices valid at the time of supply. Prepayment for the cars was not envisaged," a statement by the investigators said.

Investigators believe that Berezovsky and other members of his criminal group planned to use the proceeds from the sale of the cars to acquire stocks of reputable companies, real estate and for other personal needs.

Investigators have established that contrary to the contract terms, the criminal group led by Berezovsky failed to pay AvtoVAZ for 5,560 vehicles supplied and used an estimated sum equivalent to around $24 million for their own needs.

In particular, the money was spent on acquiring shares in Russian Public Television and the Moscow Independent Broadcasting Corporation, which owned the TV6 channel. Also, a part of the money was spent on real estate purchases in elite areas outside Moscow.

Investigators have also established that Berezovsky spent part of the money to buy a 14.3-hectare plot of land in the Krasnogorsk district northwest of Moscow for his daughter.

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