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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Berezovsky's Swiss Funds Kept Frozen




ZURICH, Switzerland -- The Swiss High Court said on Monday it had rejected a request by Russian business magnate and politician Boris Berezovsky to unfreeze accounts in Switzerland blocked as part of a wide-ranging fraud investigation.


"We have rejected the request from Mr. Boris Berezovsky, made through his lawyers, to unblock bank accounts frozen in Switzerland," court official Elisabeth Zimmermann said.


Berezovksy is one of the founders of Forus, a Swiss-based company. At the heart of the investigation are allegations that Aeroflot airline was defrauded out of up to $600 million, partly through Forus and another Lausanne-based company, Andava SA.


Russian special investigator Nikolai Volkov is due in Switzerland on Wednesday and will be able to peruse some 800 Swiss legal files connected with the case. He can take some 200 of them back to Moscow immediately.


The offices of Forus Services SA and Andava SA were raided in July last year under the personal supervision of former Swiss Attorney General Carla del Ponte, and many documents were seized.


Forus Group was created as a financial services company in 1992 by Swiss trading firm Andre et Cie and Berezovsky. Andre no longer holds a stake.


The parent company is Forus Holding SA in Luxembourg with a paid-in capital of $30 million. On its web site (www.forus.ch), Forus Group says it has assets in excess of $120 million and has several stakes in the Russian banking and financial sector.


Forus says it has been involved in various financing operations for Aeroflot, but it says allegations by Volkov that it was involved in defrauding the airline are "false and unjustified." Andava has also denied the allegations.