Berezovski loses appeal in money-laundering case

Boris Berezovski faces prosecution after losing his appeal to prevent Swiss-Russian cooperation Keystone

The Russian business tycoon, Boris Berezovski, has failed to prevent the Swiss and Russian authorities from cooperating in a money-laundering investigation, in which he is implicated.

This content was published on July 24, 2000 - 13:10

The Swiss Federal Court on Monday threw out Berezovski's attempt to block Swiss-Russian cooperation over the Aeroflot case, which involves two Swiss-based firms. The court also refused to lift an order freezing the tycoon's Swiss bank accounts.

The Federal Court's decision could lead to charges being brought against Berezovski in Russia. Russian prosecutors suspect him of embezzling $700 million (SFr1.16 billion) from the airline, Aeroflot.

Last week he resigned from parliament and gave up his immunity from prosecution. An investigation against him was suspended last year, but has not been closed.

Berezovski had urged the court to block Switzerland's legal assistance to Russia on the grounds that the Russian investigation breached human rights. He also claimed Aeroflot did not suffer any damage.

The judges rejected both arguments out of hand. They said the Russian justice authorities believe Berezovski was involved in the embezzlement of $700 million from Aeroflot.

The Federal Court also ruled that although the human rights situation in Russia was not perfect, Berezovski had not put forward any evidence to suggest the investigation went against the European Convention on Human Rights.

The court said he could not realistically claim to be the target of a political vendetta by the Russian government.

The Federal Court recently rejected appeals against Switzerland's legal assistance with Russia by two Swiss-based companies involved in the affair, Andava and Forus.

The decisions pave the way for Russia's special investigator, Nikolai Volkov, to receive the relevant papers when he visits Switzerland later this week. A spokesman for the Swiss federal prosecutor's office said Volkov would be given 200 files out of about 600 relating to the case.

swissinfo with agencies

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