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A Moscow court will announce on Thursday its verdict
A Moscow court will announce on Thursday its verdict in the case of Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, who is charged with embezzling millions of rubles from flagship air carrier Aeroflot.

The Moscow Savyolovsky Court earlier said it would announce its verdict on the Russian businessman on November 22, but later postponed the ruling for a week.

Prosecutors have charged Berezovsky, who currently lives in London, with embezzling over 214 million rubles ($8.3 million) from the Russian air carrier, and laundering more than 16 million rubles ($620,000). The prosecution is demanding a nine-year prison sentence.

Berezovsky's lawyer said, however, that he had asked the court to acquit the former Kremlin insider due to a complete lack of evidence pointing to his client's guilt.

In October, State Prosecutor Alexander Koblyakov said Berezovsky's guilt of all the alleged crimes had been proven by materials presented during the trial, as well as by the testimonies of witnesses.

London has rejected repeated requests by Moscow to extradite Berezovsky. 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.

Berezovsky, who fled Russia six years ago, has repeatedly labeled his trials-in-absentia a "farce."

Eleven criminal probes have so far been launched in Russia against Berezovsky, a one-time close associate of the late Boris Yeltsin.

Berezovsky has been granted political asylum in the United Kingdom and, reportedly, citizenship. He denies, however, that he possesses U.K. citizenship.


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