Self-Exiled Russian Oligarch and Friend of Poisoned Spy Fears for His Life

By Maddy Sauer

Nov 28, 2006 11:29am

Police in London have sealed off the offices of self-exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky after finding traces of the deadly radioactive substance polonium 210.  Berezovsky, who has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of being behind the murder of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko, told ABC News recently that he fears for his life. Boris Berezovsky fled Russia in 2000 and has been fighting extradition attempts ever since. Currently residing in London, Berezovsky told ABC News in an interview last month that he has to employ a staff of security guards to feel safe. "I feel danger here for my life," he said. "It’s the reason why I have bodyguards and a back-up car, and I pay a lot of money for that." THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS Video Russian Berezovsky: Living in Fear Femme Fatale Seized in Russia-U.S. Smuggling Scheme Click Here to Check Out the Latest Brian Ross Investigates Webcast on Dubai — The Boomtown of the Middle East Litvinenko fled Russia after revealing what he said was a plot to kill Berezovsky, who had fallen out of favor with Putin. Berezovsky and Litvinenko remained friends, and it was Berezovsky himself who reportedly drove the former secret agent to the hospital after he fell ill. Berezovsky’s office off of Hyde Park has now also been named as a location where police found traces of radioactive substances. Berezovsky told "The Sunday Telegraph" last week that he believes the Putin regime is behind the poisoning of Litvinenko. "I know people in Britain find it difficult to believe that someone who is a leader of a G8 country and someone who struts across the world stage as a democrat could order something like this to be done," Berezovsky said, "but people need to understand he is a bandit." Now the Kremlin, which has repeatedly denied any connection to the poisoning, is turning the tables and claiming that Berezovsky himself had just as much to gain from Litvinenko’s death. "The death of Litvinenko — for Russia, for the security services — means nothing," said Valery Dyatlenko, the deputy head of the security committee in Russian parliament, on state-run television. "I think this is another game of some kind by Berezovsky." Berezovsky is a self-described "absolute enemy of Putin." The Russian authorities have tried unsuccessfully to extradite Berezovsky on charges of fraud and embezzlement and most recently of plotting a coup. Berezovsky has claimed he is innocent and that all charges against him are politically motivated.

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