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Russia: British Court Rejects Berezovkii's Extradition To Russia

London, 12 September 2003 (RFE/RL) -- A British court today turned down a Russian request to extradite Russian business tycoon Boris Berezovskii. Judge Timothy Workman said it was pointless to proceed with the hearing since British Home Secretary David Blunkett had already decided last week to grant Berezovskii asylum in Britain. Workman also ordered the Russian government to pay Berezovskii's court costs.

Prosecutor James Lewis, who represented the Russian government, said before the hearing that the Russian government hoped to maintain the extradition request while seeking an explanation from Blunkett.

Russia says Berezovskii defrauded a regional government of $13 million by stealing cars from Russia's largest auto maker, AvtoVaz. Berezovskii says those charges are politically motivated.