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Berezovsky Indicted for Massive Fraud in LogoVAZ Case

Published: October 25, 2002 (Issue # 815)



  • Boris Berezovsky
    Photo: For The St. Petersburg Times

MOSCOW - Prosecutors turned up the heat on exiled magnate Boris Berezovsky on Wednesday, indicting the former Kremlin insider and two of his business associates for "large-scale fraud" at flagship automaker AvtoVAZ.

Deputy Prosecutor General Vladimir Kolesnikov said that Berezovsky, together with Badri Patarkatsishvili and Yuly Dubov, used Berezovsky's LogoVAZ dealership in a complicated scheme to defraud AvtoVAZ out of more than 2,000 cars worth $13 million in 1994 and 1995.

Berezovsky, who has lived in London since fleeing the country two years ago, and Patarkatsishvili, who reportedly lives in Georgia, have already been charged with car theft as part of a sweeping investigation of criminal activity at Tolyatti-based AvtoVAZ. But the new, more serious charge allows prosecutors to seize Berezovsky's property and formally seek his extradition.

"We have no doubts that British law-enforcement bodies will [comply with] our request for extradition, in line with legislation and international accords," news agencies quoted Kolesnikov as saying. "All the extradition documents have been prepared."

Last month, Georgia said that it would not extradite Patarkatsishvili. Dubov, who wrote a book on Berezovsky's life upon which the hit movie "The Oligarch" is based, is reportedly in Moscow.

Kolesnikov said that arrest warrants would be officially issued this week.

In a telephone interview from London, Berezovsky laughed off the charge.

"The Prosecutor General's Office doesn't impress me anymore," he said. "I have lost count - is this the fifth or sixth crime I am charged with?"

"There is absolutely no chance [that Britain will extradite me]," he said, adding that it would be impossible to seize all of his holdings in Russia.

"They already took all I had - ORT, Ogonyok," he said. "My daughter owns a house [in Moscow]; if they take it, no problem."

"I share my Russian business with partners," he said Wednesday. "To arrest it, they will have to arrest all the businesses in Russia."

In an interview published in business daily Vedomosti last month, Berezovsky claimed to have personal assets worth $3 billion - including $1.5 billion in Russia, through stakes in Russian Aluminum, Sibneft and various media interests.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Dec. 18


Improve your English and knowledge of British culture during today’s FORM lesson at the British Book Center. These free English lessons with a native speaker elaborate not only on grammar particulars but cultural topics as well. Today’s event will discuss the BBC Two documentary “Victorian Farm Christmas.”



Friday, Dec. 19


Test your mastery of parlor games during Game Evening at the British Book Center. Learn how to play a variety of classic, mentally challenging games and use your newly acquired skills to crush weaker opponents. The event beings at 5 p.m.



Saturday, Dec. 20


The city’s Babushkina Park on Prospekt Obukhovskoy Oborony will be invaded by dozens of rocking-and-rolling Santa Clauses during today’s Santa Claus Parade. Not only will they parade through the park but there will also be competitions amongst the festively-clad participants and a musical master class. There will also be a prize for the best-dressed Santa Claus.


Stock up your record collection during the Vinyl Christmas Sale at the KL10TCH bar on Konyushennaya ploschad today. Spend the afternoon perusing the records for sale while listening the classic, clean sound of records spinning out hits from a variety of musical genres and time periods.



Sunday, Dec. 21


TheZenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the club’s website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts made from a plethora of sweet treats. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBA’s and Capital Legal Service’s event “Arctic Expedition” this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers’ ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



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