BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Europe  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 5 November, 2002, 14:47 GMT
Russia demands UK-based tycoon's arrest
Boris Berezovsky
Berezovsky fled to London after fraud inquiry
Russia has formally demanded the extradition from the UK of tycoon Boris Berezovsky, say prosecutors in Moscow.

The Russian businessman fled to London after a corruption inquiry was launched against him in Russia five years ago.

The request follows last week's arrest in Denmark of Chechen envoy Akhmed Zakayev, after an extradition request was sent to the authorities in Copenhagen.


I would like them to send the warrant - so we can solve the problem of who is lying and who is not lying

Boris Berezovsky
Mr Berezovsky announced on Sunday that he would fund Mr Zakayev's fight against extradition.

The UK Home Office has said it never comments on reports of requests for extradition.

But in Moscow, prosecutor-general's office spokesman Leonid Troshin told Interfax news agency that the extradition request had been sent through the Foreign Ministry.

Mr Berezovsky told BBC News Online that Moscow had falsely claimed four times previously that extradition requests had been made.

"I don't know what is true," he said. "Before it was only lies.

Akhmed Zakayev
The tycoon is funding Zakayev's extradition fight
"But I would like them to send the warrant - so we can solve the problem of who is lying and who is not lying."

Mr Berezovsky was absolutely confident that he could prove in a British court that he had no case to answer in Russia, he said.

He said the timing of Moscow's announcement was no coincidence, coming only days after his offer to help Mr Zakayev's defence.

"There is a link. I think maybe it made the public prosecutor a little crazy and angry," he said.

Mr Berezovsky had powerful interests in oil and the media before the launch of the inquiry against him.

He still claims to have a major stake in a big Russian oil company.

He has denied the corruption charges and says he will not return to Moscow because he would be illegally jailed. He has also said he fears for his safety if he goes back.

The UK and Russia do have formal extradition procedures, agreed only last year after the lapse of a 19th Century treaty.

Chechen charges

In a separate development, the Russian authorities have handed over to Denmark specific details of some of their allegations against Mr Zakayev - although none of them links him with the Moscow theatre siege, which sparked the original call for his arrest.

Russian prosecutor-general Vladimir Ustinov handed the papers to Danish Justice Minister Lene Esperson during a visit to Moscow.


We are charging Zakayev with setting up a rebel group that operated from 1991 to 2001

Sergei Fridinsky
Deputy prosecutor-general
Prosecutors say Mr Zakayev ran a Chechen rebel group which committed murders and other crimes.

The list of crimes handed to the Danes is said to include the murder of a policeman in 1996 and playing a role in a Chechen-backed uprising in Dagestan two years later.

"We are charging Zakayev with setting up a rebel group that operated from 1991 to 2001," said deputy prosecutor-general Sergei Fridinsky.

"The number of its members varied from 300 to 1,500. The group has been involved in a number of crimes, including some linked with terrorism."

Mr Zakayev, who is a close aide of ousted Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov, was detained in Copenhagen where he was attending a conference on Chechnya.

Hostage tragedy

Russia says both men were involved in the preparation of last month's hostage crisis in Moscow, which ended in the deaths of 120 hostages and about 50 Chechens.

Both men strongly deny the claim.

The rebels themselves said they were under the command of warlord Shamil Basayev, who this week said he organised the operation in secret and asked for Mr Maskhadov's forgiveness.

Denmark is to decide by the end of the month whether to grant the extradition request.

Danish authorities had asked Moscow to provide evidence to back up their arrest warrant.


Siege reports

Key stories

Chechen conflict

BBC WORLD SERVICE

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING POINT
See also:

30 Oct 02 | Europe
16 Nov 00 | Media reports
31 Oct 02 | Europe
30 Oct 02 | Europe
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes