Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 73

Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office has canceled its arrest warrant for Boris Berezovsky. The official who issued the warrant last week, Deputy Prosecutor General Mikhail Katyshev, said yesterday that he had made the decision after Berezovsky said in a interview this past weekend that he would return to Moscow from Paris and obey the law. The prosecutor’s office reportedly has agreed not to arrest the tycoon in return for a promise that he will not leave the country once he returns. Vladimir Kazakov, who heads the department of the Prosecutor General’s Office in charge of high-profile cases, yesterday “invited” Berezovsky to his office to give evidence in the case which sparked the original arrest warrant, one involving the alleged embezzlement and laundering of funds from Aeroflot airlines. Berezovsky, meanwhile, was quoted yesterday as confirming that he plans to return to Moscow this week; some sources said that he was expected to do so on April 17 (Russian agencies, April 14).

Interestingly, report had it that Berezovsky’s lawyer, Henry Reznik, knew that the Prosecutor General’s Office planned to rescind its arrest order even before some of that office’s investigators did (Kommersant, April 15). Last week, Interior Minister Sergei Stepashin, a Yeltsin loyalist who has publicly taken officials of the Prosecutor General’s Office to task, said that he did not intend to arrest Berezovsky.

Whatever the case, the authorities want to question Berezovsky regarding the alleged misuse of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues from Aeroflot. According to some accounts, 80 percent of the company’s revenues were transferred to the bank accounts of companies controlled by Berezovsky, including Andava, a Switzerland-based firm.

The warrant for Berezovsky’s arrest, which was issued last week, charged the tycoon and former CIS executive secretary with illegal business activity and money laundering in connection with the Aeroflot case. A similar warrant was issued for Nikolai Glushkov, a former top Aeroflot executive and long-time Berezovsky associate (Russian agencies, April 14).

One account today said that the rescinding of the arrest warrant for Berezovsky was connected to the fact that the position of his main enemy, Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, had weakened in relation to the Kremlin (Segodnya, April 15).