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  Tuesday, October 22, 2019
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There is no political force in Russia that could support refugee oligarch Boris Berezovsky
There is no political force in Russia that could support refugee oligarch Boris Berezovsky, Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov said Tuesday. Berezovsky, who was granted political asylum in the U.K. in 2003 after fleeing prosecution in his home country on fraud and money laundering charges, is facing new accusations in Russia after telling a major British newspaper that he has bankrolled Kremlin insiders conspiring to overthrow President Vladimir Putin. "I do not know any political force in the country that would back his statement," Ivanov said. He also said that Berezovsky's recent prediction of a possible coup d'etat in Russia was provocative but posed no threat to the country. Following Berezovsky's remarks, the Russian Prosecutor General's Office renewed its request to the U.K. Monday to deprive the fugitive businessman of his refugee status and extradite him to Russia, and the press officer of the Russian Embassy in London confirmed Tuesday that the Home Office had received the request. Berezovsky told The Guardian: "We need to use force to change this regime, because ... this regime is unconstitutional." "It means that I call to use force to recreate [a] constitutional regime," The Guardian's Web site quoted Berezovsky as saying. Berezovsky is already facing sedition charges, brought against him in February 2006 after he made similar comments in an interview with a major French news agency. "Any violent actions on the part of the opposition in Russia will be justified today. Including a coup. This is precisely what I am working on now," he told Agence France-Presse. In the late 1990s, Berezovsky was accused of setting up two front companies in Switzerland to divert millions of dollars from Russian flagship air carrier Aeroflot's coffers, but he fled prosecution and settled in the U.K. Embezzlement charges were also leveled against Berezovsky in 2002 in connection with the alleged theft of cars in a deal between major Russian automakers Logovaz and Avtovaz. In late March of this year, Berezovsky was questioned in London by Russian prosecutors investigating the murder of former Russian secret agent Alexander Litvinenko, who was Berezovsky's personal advisor.
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