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Prosecutors to take Berezovsky's Aeroflot fraud case to court

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Russia's Prosecutor General's Office said Friday it plans to take a long-standing case involving tycoon Boris Berezovsky, accused of misappropriating Aeroflot funds, to court.
MOSCOW, June 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Prosecutor General's Office said Friday it plans to take a long-standing case involving tycoon Boris Berezovsky, accused of misappropriating Aeroflot funds, to court.

"Berezovsky is charged with embezzling over 214 million rubles ($8.3 million) of the airline's funds and laundering over 16 million rubles ($620,000)," prosecutors said, adding that if convicted, the accused could face up to ten years in prison.

A Moscow district court will consider Berezovsky's case in absentia.

In the late 1990s, the tycoon was charged with setting up two front companies in Switzerland to divert millions of dollars from the Russian flagship carrier. But the Aeroflot case was suspended after he fled to the United Kingdom and was granted political asylum there in 2003. British authorities have so far turned down all requests from Moscow to extradite him.

The Russian Prosecutor's Office took up the case in April this year after Berezovsky told The Guardian newspaper that he bankrolled Kremlin insiders conspiring to overthrow President Vladimir Putin.

Berezovsky's defense team said Friday it had sent a request to the Prosecutor General's Office that the case against their client be dropped.

"We have requested that the case be dropped as there is absolutely no evidence substantiating Berezovsky's guilt," lawyer Andrei Borovkov said.

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