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Last Updated: Friday, 13 July 2007, 14:18 GMT 15:18 UK
Brazil orders Berezovsky arrest
Boris Berezovsky
Boris Berezovsky is an outspoken critic of President Putin
A Brazilian judge has ordered Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky to be arrested following money-laundering allegations linked to a Sao Paulo football club.

The judge also ordered the arrest of two of Mr Berezovsky's associates, including Kia Joorabchian whose MSI company has a major stake in the team.

Defence lawyers have denied any wrongdoing at the Corinthians club.

Mr Berezovsky, who lives in exile in the UK, said the warrant stemmed from the Kremlin's actions against him.

Brazilian federal judge Faustus Martins de Sanctis on Thursday ordered the arrest of Mr Berezovsky, Mr Joorabchian and a third associate, Nojan Bedroud.

The case centres on the financing at Corinthians, in which Mr Joorabchian's Media Sports Investment (MSI) is a major investor.

The allegation is that MSI used its investment in the club to launder tainted money from overseas.

Four people at the club, Alberto Dualib, Nesi Curi, Renato Duprat and Paulo Angioni, have also been accused of involvement.


A statement from Corinthians said the club had always acted within the law, while MSI was quoted by the Brazilian Globo news agency as saying the judge's decision was "absurd, arbitrary and lacking legal backing".

Mr Berezovsky, an outspoken critic of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, issued a statement on Friday denying any involvement in money-laundering.

"Given the extensive comment in the Russian media and the farce of a 'trial in absentia' in the Russian courts, I have no doubt that the Brazilian story is an extension of the Kremlin's politicised campaign against me," Mr Berezovsky's statement.

Separately, the wrangling over the future of former Corinthians player and Argentine international Carlos Tevez is continuing in England.

Mr Joorabchian, the player's representative, has said he expects him to sign for Manchester United.

But West Ham, the club who signed Tevez from Corinthians, insist he is under contract to them until 2010.

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