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Russia accuses Berezovsky of lying to receive asylum in U.K.

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Russian investigators accused fugitive tycoon Boris Berezovsky of fabricating an assassination plot against him to receive asylum in the U.K., and opened a new criminal case against him.
MOSCOW, March 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russian investigators accused fugitive tycoon Boris Berezovsky of fabricating an assassination plot against him to receive asylum in the U.K., and opened a new criminal case against him.

Vladimir Markin, a spokesman for the investigation committee of the Russian Prosecutor General's Office, said the case has been opened on charges of giving false testimony, in accusing Russian special services of planning to kill him.

Andrei Borovkov, a lawyer for Berezovsky, said the defense has no information on new charges against his client.

"The investigation has not officially notified us of a new criminal case, but we had expected that Berezovsky would be facing a new set of charges," Borovkov said.

The lawyer dismissed the latest case as "another act of foolishness by the Prosecutor General's Office."

Russia has issued multiple warrants for Berezovsky's arrest and has repeatedly demanded that the U.K. extradite him. Berezovsky has been granted political asylum in Britain.

Last month the Moscow City Court upheld a lower court's verdict for Berezovsky, found guilty of embezzling over 214 million rubles from flagship air carrier Aeroflot, and sentenced to six years' imprisonment

The businessman is also accused of plotting to stage a coup in Russia, as well as embezzling $13 million from a leading Russian bank. These two cases were opened in the spring and summer of 2007, respectively.

Twelve criminal probes have so far been launched in Russia against Berezovsky, a one-time close associate of the late president Boris Yeltsin, and he also faces a criminal probe in Brazil.

In July 2007 a Brazilian court issued an order for the arrest of Berezovsky, charged in the country with money laundering through an investment group he helped establish, London-based Media Sports Investment, accused of involvement in illegal financial transactions. The Corinthians soccer club in Sao Paolo broke off its partnership with the investment group after the charges were announced.

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