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British Foreign Office condemns Berezovsky call for coup in Russia

18:26 13/04/2007
LONDON, April 13 (RIA Novosti) - Britain's Foreign Office Friday condemned Boris Berezovsky's remarks urging a coup against the Russian president and said it will closely look into this and other statements by the exiled tycoon.

The Foreign Office said it deplores anyone who uses their residence in the U.K. as a

platform to call for the violent overthrow of a sovereign government, but stopped short of promising to extradite the fugitive oligarch - something Moscow has been pushing for ever since the billionaire was granted political asylum in 2003.

On Friday, Moscow renewed its calls for Berezovsky's extradition after he said in an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian that he has bankrolled Kremlin insiders conspiring to topple Vladimir Putin.

"We need to use force to change this regime, because ... this regime is unconstitutional," The Guardian's Web site quoted Berezovsky as saying.

Spokeswoman Marina Gridneva said the Prosecutor General's Office would send a formal request to the British government that Berezovsky be stripped of his political refugee status and handed over to Russian authorities.

The 61-year-old oligarch fled Russia after fraud and money laundering charges were brought against him in the 1990s.

Last year, he was charged in absentia with sedition, following an interview in which he said that any violent actions on the part of the opposition in Russia would be justified, including a coup.

"This is precisely what I am working on now," he told Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy and French news agency Agence France Presse in January 2006.

That interview prompted Britain's then-foreign secretary, Jack Straw, to warn Berezovsky that his refugee status might be reviewed.

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RIA NovostiBritish Foreign Office condemns Berezovsky call for coup in Russia

18:26 13/04/2007 Britain's Foreign Office Friday condemned Boris Berezovsky's remarks urging a coup against the Russian president and said it will closely look into this and other statements by the exiled tycoon. >>

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