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Thursday, July 19, 2007

British Arrest Man Plotting to Kill a Russian Exile

From NYTimes.com: The British police said on Wednesday that they had arrested a man last month on suspicion of plotting to kill the Russian exile Boris A. Berezovsky  a prominent critic of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.

A police official, who spoke on the customary condition of anonymity, said that the suspect was arrested in London on June 21 and handed over to the immigration service two days later, without being charged. The suspect, the official said, was a Russian who was then sent home. Earlier Wednesday, Mr. Berezovsky said that he had been compelled to leave Britain temporarily last month after the security services warned him that a Russian assassin had arrived and intended to kill him.

“A month ago, an officer from Scotland Yard said a person came with the task of killing me, and that I knew this person,” Mr. Berezovsky said in a telephone interview. “They said I should meet with nobody, and I should leave the country.”

Mr. Berezovsky described a plot — outlined further to him by Russian friends “who are connected to the special services” — that was said to involve a man who would lure him to a meeting and shoot him. Then the gunman would surrender to the British authorities, serve a long sentence in Britain and return to Russia to collect “a large reward and Hero of Russia medal,” Mr. Berezovsky said.

Mr. Berezovsky, who parlayed once close ties to the Kremlin into an industrial empire and vast wealth, fell out with Mr. Putin and sought refuge in Britain. He was granted political asylum in 2003 and is wanted in Russia on charges of fraud, embezzlement and fomenting a coup. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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