Moscow court convicts tycoon in absentia

June 25, 2009

, MOSCOW, Jun 25 – A Moscow court on Thursday found exiled tycoon and outspoken Kremlin critic Boris Berezovsky guilty of embezzlement during Russia\’s era of wild capitalism in the 1990s.

The sentence for Berezovsky, who lives in London and was tried in absentia, will be handed down on Friday, Russian news agencies reported.

Russian prosecutors had accused Berezovsky of stealing 140 million rubles (4.5 million dollars, 3.2 million euros) from Avtovaz, a car manufacturer in southern Samara, and Logovaz, a car dealerehip he controlled at the time.

Earlier this month prosecutors asked for a 15 year jail term.

The case is one of many brought against him by Russian prosecutors since Berezovsky, an influential power broker in the early post-Soviet years, fell out with the Kremlin after Vladimir Putin became president in 2000.

Berezovsky was found guilty of millions of dollars of theft from state airline Aeroflot in 2007 and sentenced to six years in prison. He dismissed the case as politically motivated.

Berezovsky was granted political asylum in Britain in 2003. Moscow has repeatedly sought his extradition but London has refused.

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