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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Berezovsky to Be Tried in Absentia for Theft

Self-exiled businessman Boris Berezovsky will be tried in absentia in Moscow and could be jailed for up to 10 years if found guilty of theft from flagship carrier Aeroflot, prosecutors said Friday.

Once part of the country's business and political elite, Berezovsky is now a vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin and a political emigre sheltered by Britain. London has rejected Moscow's requests to extradite him.

"Berezovsky is charged with large-scale theft of company funds worth a total of 214 million rubles [$8.3 million] ... and laundering part of the sum stolen from Aeroflot worth over 16 million rubles [$620,000]," the Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement.

Berezovsky's lawyers said the case was a sham. "We have lodged a request to close the case because it contains no evidence of his guilt," lawyer Andrei Borovkov was quoted by RIA-Novosti as saying.

The Prosecutor General's Office said the investigation into the theft had been completed and, after Berezovsky's lawyers had finished reading his criminal case, it would be sent to one of Moscow's district courts and heard there.

"The articles of the Russian Federation's Criminal Code with which Berezovsky is charged call for a maximum jail term of 10 years," it added.