Chechen President Alu Alkhanov told reporters in Moscow on February 28 that “nobody has any doubts” that the exiled tycoon and former Kremlin insider Boris Berezovsky funded the government of rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov. “We all know that, and [Chechen warlord Shamil] Basaev himself has admitted that,” Interfax quoted Alkhanov as saying. “If anybody is still surprised, it is not a surprise to me,” he said. “It has been proved.” Alkhanov said, however, that he could not officially confirm the claim made by Ramzan Kadyrov that Berezovsky gave separatist envoy Akhmed Zakaev $1 million to organize the May 2004 attack that killed pro-Moscow Chechen president Akhmad Kadyrov (see Chechnya Weekly, February 23). “But people like Basaev and Zakaev doubtlessly benefited from that,” Alkhanov said. “But I cannot offer strong evidence of their participation in the crime.”
Kadyrov reiterated this allegation, telling Interfax in a telephone interview: “We have received information from our sources suggesting that it was Berezovsky who handed over $1 million to Zakaev to finance the terrorist attack. This information arrived from a man who was once close to the entourage of illegal armed group leaders and was familiar with their financial affairs. Zakaev used the money to pay rewards to the terrorists.”
On February 26, Kadyrov asked Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Alvaro Gil-Robles for assistance in extraditing Berezovsky along with Zakaev, Movladi Udugov and other exiled Chechen separatist leaders.