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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Berezovsky's Aeroflot Trial Put Off Until Next Month

Savyolovsky District Court ruled Thursday to delay the hearing of a fraud case against businessman Boris Berezovsky to next month, Interfax reported.

The court will resume the trial in absentia on Aug. 21 because court-appointed lawyer Alexander Dudkin asked for more time to read the case files. Dudkin also said Thursday that he believed Berezovsky was innocent.

"I share [Berezovsky's] opinion on this case," Dudkin told reporters.

Prosecutors maintain Berezovsky, a former shareholder of top national airline Aeroflot, embezzled 214 million rubles ($8.3 million at the current exchange rate) from the carrier in the 1990s and laundered a portion of the funds. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Dudkin was appointed after Berezovsky ordered his own lawyers not to take part in the trial, which he calls a politically motivated farce.

The court-appointed lawyer's support for his client was somewhat unexpected, given the Kremlin's control of the judicial system and its determination to prove its case against Berezovsky.

Berezovsky said he was not surprised by the lawyer's remarks.

"He's made the same conclusion as lawyers I employ," Berezovsky said. "It just confirms that this story was made in the Kremlin, not in reality."

On July 13, Brazil issued a warrant for Berezovsky's arrest on money-laundering charges in a case involving the Brazilian football team Corinthians. Berezovsky called the warrant "an extension of the Kremlin's politicized campaign against me."

Corinthians announced Wednesday that they were breaking off their partnership with the London-based sports management group MSI. The decision came two weeks after a Brazilian judge ordered the arrest of agent Kia Joorabchian, who ran MSI in Brazil, and Berezovsky, who authorities said was one of the group's investors, on money-laundering charges.

MT, AP, Reuters