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Last Updated: Monday, 2 July 2007, 14:33 GMT 15:33 UK
Russian exile 'faces coup charge'
Boris Berezovsky
Boris Berezovsky is an outspoken critic of President Putin
A lawyer for exiled Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky says the authorities in Moscow have charged him with conspiring to seize power.

The lawyer, Andrei Borovkov, says the charge relates to an interview Mr Berezovsky gave in April to the British newspaper, The Guardian.

Mr Berezovsky seemed to call for a violent overthrow of power and the removal of President Vladimir Putin.

Russian authorities have not commented on the reports of charges.

Mr Berezovsky, an outspoken critic of the Russian leader, lives in London where he has refugee status.

'Coup'

"He has been charged with conspiring to seize power in a violent coup," Mr Borovkov told journalists.

A spokesman for Russia's FSB secret service would not confirm whether charges had been brought against the tycoon.

In the Guardian interview, Mr Berezovsky said: "We need to use force to change this regime... It isn't possible to change this regime through democratic means. There can be no change without force, pressure."

Asked if he was fomenting a revolution, he said: "You are absolutely correct."

He subsequently issued a statement in which he said he was not advocating a violent uprising.

For years Russia has been pressing Britain without success for the multi-millionaire's extradition to stand trial on corruption charges.

Mr Berezovsky is currently being tried in absentia for embezzling millions of euros from the Russian airline Aeroflot in the 1990s.

At the first court hearing in Moscow on Monday, the billionaire's lawyers announced they would not take part in the Aeroflot case.

The court was adjourned until July 12, and Mr Berezovsky will be given a state-appointed lawyer.


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