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Moscow court delays Berezovsky Aeroflot trial until Sept. 5

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A Moscow court has postponed until September 5 a trial in absentia of fugitive oligarch Boris Berezovsky on charges of embezzling millions of rubles from Russia's flagship air carrier, Aeroflot, in the 1990s.
MOSCOW, August 21 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow court has postponed until September 5 a trial in absentia of fugitive oligarch Boris Berezovsky on charges of embezzling millions of rubles from Russia's flagship air carrier, Aeroflot, in the 1990s.

The decision was made in response to a request by the court-appointed lawyer representing the businessman, who lives in London as a political emigre, for more time to study the case files.

Alexander Dudkin said he has managed to study only 89 of the 123 volumes pertaining to the case. Prosecutors have objected to the delay.

"The judge ruled that Dudkin's request to postpone the trial shall be satisfied, and that he be given an opportunity to study the Berezovsky case materials in full. The trial shall be delayed until September 5," the presiding judge said.

Prosecutors charged the billionaire with embezzling over 214 million rubles ($8.3 million) from the national air carrier and laundering more than 16 million rubles ($620,000). The charges are punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

London has rejected Russia's repeated requests to extradite Berezovsky, who is also accused of embezzling $13 million from a leading Russian bank, SBS-Agro Bank, and of attempts to stage a coup in Russia, the two latest cases having been opened in the summer and spring of 2007, respectively.

Berezovsky, who fled Russia six years ago, has refused to send any of his own defense lawyers to his trials-in-absentia in Moscow, which he has branded a "farce."

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