New case against tycoon Berezovsky

August 1, 2007 - 0:0

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russian prosecutors have asked a Moscow court to issue an arrest warrant for businessman Boris Berezovsky in connection with a new criminal case against the outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, authorities said Monday.

The Russian government — under pressure to extradite the main suspect in the London poisoning death of Alexander Litvinenko, a Berezovsky associate — accuses Britain of double standards in refusing to hand over the exiled tycoon for trial in Russia.
The Prosecutor General's Office asked for Berezovsky's arrest on charges he stole $13 million from the SBS-Agro banking giant. It also asked the court to seize Berezovsky's property in France. No details were provided.
Berezovsky's lawyer Semyon Aria said he is accused of using middlemen to take out a loan from the bank in 1997, which was used to acquire a villa in southern France and never repaid. Berezovsky rented the villa, which was subsequently sold to a British company, Aria said.
""One should note that Berezovsky never owned that property,"" Aria said. ""It was not he who took the money, and he never signed any papers. He is accused of being the one who secretly inspired this.""
Berezovsky fled to Britain in 2000 to avoid prosecution in the Aeroflot case. He also faces possible prosecution in Russia over his alleged calls for the government to be overthrown