Boris Berezovsky gave up his parliamentary immunity when he resigned his seat as a deputy from Karachaevo-Cherkessk. Not long thereafter federal investigations into his affairs intensified. When he was summoned to appear before a prosecutor for questioning, he prudently left the country. From Paris, he denounced President Vladimir Putin as a dictator and vowed to organize a pro-democracy movement to oppose him. Earlier this year, he sold his 49-percent stake in the ORT network to fellow tycoon (and fellow former Duma deputy) Roman Abramovich.
Now, catlike, the media-oil-aluminum-aviation-automobile tycoon may be coming back. The main case against him, which involves the alleged diversion of hard-currency revenues of Aeroflot airlines to two Swiss companies under Berezovsky’s control, will soon be closed. Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov, a Putin appointee, says he will turn the case over to the courts in a month or two; so far, no charges against Berezovsky have been filed, although several Aeroflot principals are under indictment. Reportedly most of the two tons of evidentiary material that investigator Nikolai Volkov brought back from Switzerland has been dismissed. Volkov has been dismissed as well.
And Berezovsky is coming back to televisionland. Berezovsky has acquired 75 percent of Moscow-based TV-6, and with his daughter and three of his auto-leasing employees installed on the board, he is a safe bet to be elected chairman.