AMERICAN RUSSIAN LAW INSTITUTE
A NOT-FOR-PROFIT TAX EXEMPT PUBLIC POLICY RESEARCH AND ADVISORY ORGANIZATION

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Boris Berezovsky: Backgrounder

Boris Berezovsky a/k/a Platon Elenin is a Russian national currently residing in London UK. Former notorious Russian "oligarch" and billionaire, Berezovsky currently is a fugitive, wanted by the Interpol on international arrest warrants issued by the Russian Federation and Brazil for fraud, embezzlement, money laundering, participation in organized crime and transnational financial crimes. In addition, since at least 2003, Berezovsky has been under investigation for money laundering by Swiss federal prosecutors, Dutch FIOD-ECD (the Netherlands money laundering and financial frauds watchdog) and French Central Office for Combating Grand Financial Offences (OCRGDF)).

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                    (click on photos to enlarge)


BEREZOVSKY,  BORIS
1999/36430
Category of offences: Fraud,
Money Laundering, Organized
Crime, Transnational  Crime

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Curriculum Vitae of Crime

Berezovsky has been widely reported to be the man behind many high profile murders, including brutal killings of prominent Russian journalists Vladislav Listyev and Anna Politkovskaya, US reporter for Forbes Magazine Paul Khlebnikov, Deputy Head of Russian Central Bank Andrey Kozlov, and a former Russian intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko (poisoned with a nuclear substance Polonium-210 in London). Berezovsky presently is barred from entering the United States but visits the US regularly using multiple phoney passports issued to different names, including "Platon Elenin".

Berezovsky is often featured in major international press as a nefarious billionaire tycoon and the epitome of Russian "robber capitalism" of the 90s, at the pick of Russian Organized Crime’s ("ROC") wresting control of Russian economy. Berezovsky, one-time Russian used car dealer, assembled a huge illicit fortune after the collapse of Communism. Paul Khlebnikov, the late prominent reporter for Forbes Magazine, explains in his best-selling book "The Godfather of Kremlin", a thoroughly researched treatise about Berezovsky: "This individual had risen out of nowhere to become the richest businessman in Russia..."

Berezovsky was at the height of his nefarious powers in the later years of corrupt regime of Russian President Boris Yeltsyn. Being an insider in both the Yeltsyn family and the tops of the ROC, Berezovsky made his fortune by capturing and looting Russian state assets during Russia's rush towards privatization in the 90s - - using fraudulent contracts, no-bid government "auctions", blackmailing industry officials and strong arm tactics, including murder - - amassing billions of dollars in proceeds of his crimes.

Berezovsky presently is barred from entering the United States, but is believed to visit the U.S. regularly to conduct business in the US, including in this State, using multiple passports issued to different names, including "Platon Elenin".

Berezovsky is often featured in international press as a nefarious billionaire tycoon and the epitome of Russian "robber capitalism" of the 90s, at the peak of Russian Organized Crime’s ("ROC") wresting control of Russian economy. Berezovsky, a one-time Russian used car dealer, assembled a huge illicit fortune after the collapse of Communism. In "The Godfather of Kremlin", Khlebnikov noted: "This individual had risen out of nowhere to become the richest businessman in Russia..."

Berezovsky was at the height of his nefarious powers in the latter years of the regime of Russian President Boris Yeltsyn. Being an insider in both the Yeltsyn family and the tops of the ROC, Berezovsky made his fortune by capturing and looting Russian state assets during Russia's rush towards privatization in the 90s - - using fraudulent contracts, no-bid government "auctions", blackmailing industry officials and murder - - amassing billions of dollars in proceeds of his crimes.

In April 7, 1999, the Office of Russia's Attorney General issued an arrest warrant for Berezovsky, on charges of money-laundering and embezzling millions of dollars from Russian National Airline Aeroflot by diverting Aeroflot’s funds to his Geneva based company "Andava S.A." (The warrant is still outstanding.) Swiss authorities also commenced investigation into Berezovsky’s money laundering activities. On September 15, 1999, The New York Times reported:

"the [Swiss] authorities have moved aggressively against two Swiss companies that worked for the Russian airline Aeroflot... .... This summer Swiss prosecutors raided the offices and froze the bank accounts of Andava S.A. and Forus Services S.A., two Lausanne companies ... Investors in both companies included Mr. Berezovsky."

In 2000, Berezovsky, fearing imminent arrest and prosecution in his native Russia, fled to UK. There, using his illicit fortune, Berezovsky has bought significant political influence. As has been abundantly reported, with the assistance of some members of the UK Parliament and thanks to ample honorariums paid to Britain’s most expensive lobbyists and lawyers, Berezovsky managed to cloak his common crimes with the patina of "political persecution" - - securing asylum status in the UK. There, capitalizing on political tensions between Russia and UK, he successfully fenced off multiple extradition requests of the Russian government, and subsequently of the Brazilian government.

On October 23, 2001, the Telegraph (London) reported: "[B]erezovsky has been put on the country's wanted list accused of corruption and money laundering."

On February 1, 2002, The New York Times reported that Berezovsky was wanted by Russian authorities for "financing of terrorist activity" in Chechnia and accused of involvement in the kidnaping and assassination of Major-General Gennady Shpigun, Russian envoy to Chechnya.

On October 24, 2002, The New York Times reported that Russian Federal prosecutors charged Berezovsky with defrauding Russia's largest automobile company, AvtoVAZ, of $15 million.

On March 26, 2003, London police reported that Berezovsky was briefly arrested by Scotland Yard, "charged on the extradition warrant issued by Bow Street Magistrates Court following a request for assistance from Russian authorities investigating allegations of a fraud." Berezovsky had been released on bail. As noted, Berezovsky managed to secure asylum in the UK and was not extradited.

On November 16, 2003, Hansjoerg Widmer of the Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office, said that Switzerland had opened a formal investigation against Berezovsky for money laundering and membership in a criminal organization.

In 2004, Interpol issued an international arrest warrant for Berezovsky on charges of fraud, money laundering, organized crime and transnational crimes. The Interpol warrant is still outstanding.

On February 21, 2006, at the meeting with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, Prime Minister Kadyrov informed the UN Commissioner about Berezovsky’s financing Chechen terrorists:

"Berezovsky repeatedly met with warlords and offered a financing scheme to them. Berezovsky said to the militant leaders, 'I can't give you money directly, and therefore I suggest that you kidnap Russian civilians and servicemen in Chechnia, then I will pay you millions of dollars in ransoms for them,"

The Central-Asia Caucasus Institute reported that "the militants received millions of dollars under this scheme, with which they bought weapons and ammunition."

On February 20, 2007, Bloomberg News reported that Acting Prime Minister of Chechnia Ramzan Kadyrov publicly stated that Berezovsky was responsible for the deaths of Litvinenko and reporter Anna Politkovskaya.

On June 23, 2007, Reuters reported, that Russian prosecutors reiterated that Berezovsky is behind the murder of Alexander Litvinenko.

In July 2007, Brazilian judge Fausto Martin de Sanctis ordered the arrest of Berezovsky following Brazilian prosecutors’ investigation of Sao Paulo football club Corinthians, which was used as a money laundering vehicle for Berezovsky’s company Media Sports Investments (MSI), that formed a "partnership" with Corinthians in November 2004, and was funded with the profits from organized crime in Russia. The Guardian (London) reported: "Brazilian officials vowed to seek the extradition of Mr. Berezovsky from the UK to face charges of money laundering."

On August 7, 2007, a Moscow court issued a new arrest warrant for Berezovsky, on charges of embezzling millions of dollars from SBS-Agro Bank, one of the largest Russian-international banks. USA Today reported that this is "likely to increase tensions between Moscow and London over Britain's refusal to extradite him."

On August 28, 2007, London’s The Independent reported that Russian prosecutors have announced a breakthrough in the hunt for the killers of Anna Politkovskaya, making Berezovsky a prime suspect as a mastermind of the murder.

On August 29, 2007, Kommersant, Moscow’s premier business daily, reported that Dutch law enforcement authorities initiated a criminal case against Berezovsky for money laundering, and traveled to Moscow to meet with the Russian prosecutors to share information in that regard. Kommersant also reported that Berezovsky’s trial on charges of his embezzlement and money laundering and his role in hostage-taking incident on Chechen border, will be heard in court in October.

In November 2007, a Moscow court sentenced Berezovsky in absentia to six years in prison for embezzling millions of dollars from Aeroflot. Following the appeal filed by Berezovsky’s defense attorneys, the sentence was affirmed.

In June 2009, Berezovsky again was tried in absentia in Moscow on charges of multi-million dollar embezzlement from AvtoVAZ, Russian biggest automaker, and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

In October 2009, it was reported that the Prosecutor General of the Ukraine commenced investigation into Berezovsky’s involvement in the child molestation and statutory rape scandal in the world-famous children summer camp Artek in Crimea, Ukranian peninsula. Reports regarding Berezovsky’s pedophilic propensity and child molestation incidents had been appearing before.

As the investigations into Berezovsky’s world-wide criminal activities continued, in October 2009, Berezovsky faced new indictment by the Russian Federal prosecutors, for being the principal administrator and organizer of the corrupt criminal enterprise "for perpetrating economic crimes in and outside Russia", as noted by Vladimir Markin of the Prosecutor General’s Office. Berezovsky

"established a network of commercial companies personally or with the help of his associates. The companies disguised as regular financial and economic entities committed transnational crimes, i.e. embezzlement and money laundering. They [the companies] were set up in Russia and some other countries, including Luxembourg, Cyprus, Switzerland, the British Virgin Islands, Gibraltar and the Island of Man,"

On January 22, 2009, the Basmani Federal Court of Moscow ordered an injunction with respect to Berezovsky’s condominium apartment in New York, in connection with Berezovsky’s fraud in obtaining his UK asylum status.

On January 24, 2010, a complaint against Berezovsky was filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, alleging that Berezovsky choreographed and carried out the murder of his former partner, billionaire investor and philanthropist Badri Patarkatsishvili.

On January 25, 2010, the Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov publicly accused Berezovsky of involvement in the murder of another prominent journalist Natalia Estemirova in July 2009.

Berezovsky is known to boast about his "close contacts" with high-level KGB operatives and ability to avail himself of their facilities to "neutralize" a competitor or opponent. In January 2006, the guests attending Berezovsky's lavish 60th birthday party at Blenheim Palace, included such KGB high level operatives as Alexander Litvinenko and Andrei Lugovoi.

Berezovsky boasts of being a close friend of Belarusian dictator Aleksandr Lukashenka since the times of Berezovsky’s assignment in Minsk as deputy secretary of the CIS Security Council. Reports surfaced that Berezovsky is assisting Lukashenka to funnel funds from Belarus to offshore accounts belonging to Lukashenka and managed by Berezovsky.  Berezovsky has maintained close contacts with top figures of the Belarusian KGB, including one Viktor Sheiman, the villainous head of Belarusian security apparatus at all relevant times.

Berezovsky, is known as an ardent and vociferous foe of Georgian president, Michael Saakashvili, Georgia’s democratically elected president. Berezovsky seeks to overthrow the Saakashvili government.

Under the UK Protection

After taking a refuge in the UK in 2000, Berezovsky, engaged in an all out PR campaign in order to disguise his crimes as "political actions." Using his illicit fortune, Berezovsky retained some of the most expensive UK "image-makers", including Lord Timothy Bell, best known for his championing the causes of the former Panamanian ruler Manuel Noriega (convicted for drug trafficking in Florida), Chilean dictator war criminal Augusto Pinochet, and the fraudulently elected Belarusian strong man, Aleksandr Lukashenka. British prominent newspaper The Independent wrote:

"Public relations guru Lord Bell is the man who deposed leaders and exiled billionaires call when they need an image makeover. Operating on a global scale, Lord Bell is quite prepared to give counsel to dictators, deposed leaders and exiled billionaires, especially when they find themselves pariahs in need of a media makeover. President Lukashenko of Belarus, who presides over what Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, described as "the last remaining true dictatorship in the heart of Europe", is a recently acquired client of his Chime Communications empire. He has also represented Boris Yeltsin, the former Russian president, and Boris Berezovsky, the oil and media magnate who is exiled in London and has threatened to overthrow Vladimir Putin. Berezovsky has successfully avoided all attempts at extradition to Russia, where he was convicted in absentia last year and sentenced to six years for embezzlement. (The Independent August 18, 2008.)"

In October 2006, when Berezovsky’s influence-shopping spree became too obvious, a member of UK Parliament from the Tory party, Greg Barker, faced a probe into his financial dealings with Berezovsky. UK former immigration minister Charles Wardle, one of many critics of Berezovsky’s UK asylum, demanded investigation into financial ties between Barker and Berezovsky, who was at that time facing extradition from Britain. Lord Bell, who was also in charge of Tory party’s public relations campaign said that Berezovsky "could not recall meeting Barker" (as reported by London’s Daily Mail and other media.) Barker himself admitted meeting with Berezovsky on multiple occasions in Moscow and London, but denied improper financial dealings with Berezovsky.

Thus far, Berezovsky has skillfully manipulated the system, evading multiple extradition requests. He parlayed his much criticized UK asylum and protection of certain UK politicians into an impenetrable "immunity" shield and, literally, a "license to kill."  

Efforts to strip Berezovsky of the US asylum status and have him extradited, continue within and outside Great Britain.

 

 


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