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Russian prosecutors appeal to French court for releasing 'Berezovsky yachts'

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Russian prosecutors have appealed against a decision by a French court to release two luxury yachts allegedly belonging to fugitive Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, the Prosecutor General's Office said on Monday.

Russian prosecutors have appealed against a decision by a French court to release two luxury yachts allegedly belonging to fugitive Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, the Prosecutor General's Office said on Monday.

The French appeals court canceled a previous court decision to seize the yachts earlier this month.

The yachts were seized at the request of Russian prosecutors in February off the resort town of Antibes in the French Riviera, where Berezovsky has a mansion. The seizure was part of an ongoing criminal investigation against the Russian oligarch, who has been in self-exile in London since 2000. Berezovsky has denied that the yachts belong to him.

A Russian-owned British-based company appealed against the seizure, saying that it bought the yachts two years ago, and its appeal was satisfied by the French court.

The total cost of the seized yachts, one of which is the 50-meter-long ThunderB, is estimated to reach 14 million euros (over $20 million), Le Parisien newspaper has estimated.

Over a dozen criminal probes have been launched in Russia against Berezovsky, a one-time close associate of the late president Boris Yeltsin, including on charges of plotting to stage a coup and embezzling $13 million from a leading Russian bank.

Russia has issued multiple warrants for Berezovsky's arrest and has repeatedly demanded his extradition from Britain.

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