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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 November 2007, 14:02 GMT
Moscow court convicts Berezovsky
Boris Berezovsky
Russian authorities also accuse Mr Berezovsky of plotting a coup
A Moscow court has sentenced the exiled businessman Boris Berezovsky to six years in jail in absentia after finding him guilty of massive embezzlement.

The court found that Mr Berezovsky had stolen 214m roubles (nearly $9m) from the state airline Aeroflot through fraud. It ordered him to repay it.

Mr Berezovsky, who has political asylum in Britain, controlled the airline in the 1990s.

He told the BBC the verdict was "a farce".

He is a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin and Britain's refusal to extradite him has been one of several irritants straining relations between London and Moscow.

He made a huge fortune in the political and economic upheaval following the collapse of communism in the early 1990s.

The judge described him as part of an organised criminal group that included Aeroflot managers.

"This court has no significance for me or for those who abide by the law," Mr Berezovsky told "I instructed my lawyers not to participate in this farce."

Mr Berezovsky was a close associate of Russian former secret agent Alexander Litvinenko, whose fatal poisoning in London last year triggered a British-Russian diplomatic row.

Profile: Boris Berezovsky
31 May 07 |  Europe

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