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27 January, 2004

world's richest refugee - billionaire

A Russian billionaire, Boris Berezovsky, now has a refugee status in Britain. He is in Russian's wanted list, on charges that he and an associate defrauded a regional government of the equivalent of $US13 million during mid-1990s. He was one of a small group of Russian men who amassed huge wealth during Boris Yeltsin's presidency. Boris Berezovsky changed his name to Platon Elenin.

He is probably the world's richest refugee.
I don't think Russia is happy about the refugee status given by British government.
News.com.au has a report, Billionaire gets refugee status

Billionaire gets refugee status (news.com.au 23 Jan 2004)

Boris Berezovsky, the Russian billionaire who avoided prosecution in his country by being granted refugee status in Britain, has been given travel documents under a new identity, a cabinet minister said today.

In them, Berezovsky has formally changed his name to Platon Elenin, the lead character in a film based on his life, said Home Secretary David Blunkett.

The tycoon's new travel documents sparked a row in Russia before Christmas when Berezovsky, 57, visited the former Soviet republic of Georgia under his new name and was not extradited to Russia.

Angered Russian officials said Georgia's government should have arrested the well-known fugitive and turned him over to Russia for prosecution on fraud and theft charges.

When the British government granted Berezovsky refugee status, and turned down an extradition request by Moscow, it said he could face persecution in Russia.

Berezovsky was one of a small group of Russian men who amassed huge wealth during Boris Yeltsin's presidency, after the Soviet collapse in 1991. The Kremlin views the one-time insider who went into exile after Vladimir Putin became president as a villain.

Berezovsky is wanted by Russian authorities on charges that he and an associate defrauded a regional government of the equivalent of $US13 million ($16.86 million) during the mid-1990s.

Blunkett's confirmation of the new identity came in response to a written question in the House of Commons from opposition shadow foreign secretary Michael Ancram.

"Boris Berezovsky ... submitted a statutory declaration formally changing his name to Platon Elenin, and the Immigration and Nationality Directorate issued a travel document, in accordance with the provisions of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, in that name," Blunkett said.

Ancram criticised the minister's explanation.

"This answer raises more questions than it answers. I will be making further inquiries about the way in which the Foreign Office deals with applications of this kind," he said.

The Associated Press

Posted by Antony on 27 January 2004 4:12 PM | newstalk

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