by Ted Lipien Free Media Online, Dublin, CA, December 29, 2006 — In an interview aired Friday by the Voice of America (VOA) Russian Service, exiled Russian businessman and President Putin’s critic Boris Berezovsky dismissed the latest accusations by Moscow in the Litvinenko poisoning case as moving beyond absurd into the realm of science fiction. Mr. Berezovsky was reacting to the Russian Prosecutor-General’s Office announcement on Wednesday that it suspected Israel-based former Russian oil billionaire Leonid Nevzlin might be involved in the death of Mr. Litvinenko, who died in a London hospital on November 23 from exposure to the highly toxic radioactive substance polonium-210.

Mr. Nevzlin dismissed allegations by Moscow and said he had co-operated with the British authorities investigating the London murder of the dissident Russian ex-spy. The Russian government has unsuccessfully sought Mr. Nevzlin’s and Mr. Berezovsky’s extradition on charges of fraud. The Russian authorities have also accused Mr. Nevzlin of involvement in contract killings. Both men dismissed these accusations as politically motivated. Mr. Nevzlin is now believed to be on a visit to the United States. Mr. Berezovsky received political asylum in Great Britain.

In the Voice of America interview, Mr. Berezovsky said that the US government would not have allowed Mr. Nevzlin into the country if Washington gave the slightest credence to Moscow’s accusations.  “I know him personally, and these accusations have absolutely no basis in fact,” Mr. Berezovsky told VOA. While he was living in Russia, Mr. Berezovsky was an owner and supporter of liberal media.

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