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U.K. has no legal grounds to refuse Berezovsky extradition -MP

19:33 23/04/2007
MOSCOW, April 23 (RIA Novosti) - Britain has no legal grounds to refuse Russia's extradition request for fugitive oligarch Boris Berezovsky, a senior Russian parliament member said Monday.

The Prosecutor General's Office announced April 16 it was seeking Berezovsky's extradition following an interview he gave The Guardian newspaper calling for regime change in Russia.

"There are no legal grounds for not extraditing Berezovsky," said Pavel Krasheninnikov, head of the State Duma's Civil, Criminal, Arbitration and Procedural Law Committee, and a former justice minister.

Berezovsky, who was granted political asylum in the U.K. in 2003 after fleeing prosecution in his home country on fraud and money laundering charges, is facing new accusations in Russia after telling The Guardian that he has bankrolled Kremlin insiders conspiring to overthrow President Vladimir Putin.

Berezovsky told The Guardian: "We need to use force to change this regime, because ... this regime is unconstitutional." "It means that I call to use force to recreate [a] constitutional regime," The Guardian's Web site quoted Berezovsky as saying.

Berezovsky is already facing sedition charges, brought against him in February 2006 after he made similar comments in an interview with a major French news agency.

"Any violent actions on the part of the opposition in Russia will be justified today. Including a coup. This is precisely what I am working on now," he told Agence France-Presse.

In the late 1990s, Berezovsky was accused of setting up two front companies in Switzerland to divert millions of dollars from Russian flagship air carrier Aeroflot's coffers, but he fled prosecution and settled in the U.K.

Embezzlement charges were also leveled against Berezovsky in 2002 in connection with the alleged theft of cars in a deal between major Russian automakers Logovaz and Avtovaz.

In late March of this year, Berezovsky was questioned in London by Russian prosecutors investigating the murder of former Russian secret agent Alexander Litvinenko, who was Berezovsky's personal advisor.

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RIA NovostiU.K. has no legal grounds to refuse Berezovsky extradition -MP

19:33 23/04/2007 Britain has no legal grounds to refuse Russia's extradition request for fugitive oligarch Boris Berezovsky, a senior Russian parliament member said Monday. >>

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