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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Berezovsky Welcomes Ukraine Inquiry

APBoris Berezovsky
RIGA, Latvia -- Boris Berezovsky has said he will cooperate fully with a Ukrainian parliamentary investigation into allegations he funded the political campaign of President Viktor Yushchenko, and accused outside forces, including the Kremlin, of being behind a plan to bring down Yushchenko's government.

Berezovsky, in Latvia on a two-day business trip, on Wednesday repeated statements that he had spoken by telephone to Yushchenko and met his Orange Revolution allies.

Berezovsky was in Riga with Neil Bush, U.S. President George W. Bush's brother, to promote an educational software company.

Berezovsky said the funding allegations were part of a plan by Yushchenko's opponents to bring him down.

"I think this is very simple," Berezovsky said after his arrival in Latvia. "There are groups inside the country and outside, in the Kremlin, who are very disappointed in the outcome of the election and they're trying to destroy the team that won the election."

He did not elaborate on his claims, and again refused to say whether he had directly funded Yushchenko's campaign.

Interfax on Wednesday quoted "sources in law enforcement agencies" as saying Russia had officially asked Latvia to detain and extradite Berezovsky, who is wanted in Moscow on fraud charges.

The Ukrainian parliament on Tuesday set up a commission to investigate the allegations that Berezovsky financed the campaign.

"In general, I think the investigation is good because they are trying to build an open society," Berezovsky said. "They should make a choice between an open society and a corrupt society. I am open to give them all the documents they ask from me."

Berezovsky's statements have generated a political storm in Kiev, though the furor has been overshadowed by Yushchenko's efforts to install Yuriy Yekhanurov as prime minister. Yushchenko fired Yekhanurov's predecessor, Yulia Tymoshenko, earlier this month after months of government infighting and allegations of corruption.

Former President Leonid Kravchuk accused Berezovsky of having funded Yushchenko's campaign days after the president fired Tymoshenko. Kravchuk said he believed Berezovsky had donated at least $15 million.

Yushchenko and his allies denied receiving funds from Berezovsky or any foreign source.

Berezovsky is a shareholder of Ignite, an educational software company founded by Bush in 1999 that is looking at opportunities in the Central and Eastern European markets.

Berezovsky said planned to meet with university professors as well as Latvian officials, including the parliamentary speaker and interior minister, RIA-Novosti reported.

(Reuters, AP, Bloomberg)