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Brazil orders Berezovsky, soccer bosses detained

July 13, 2007 13:47 IST
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A Brazilian federal court on Thursday ordered Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky and several directors of the Brazilian soccer team Corinthians detained on money laundering charges.

Judge Fausto Martin de Sanctis froze the bank accounts of one of Brazil's most popular teams and said Interpol would be asked to carry out the overseas arrests of Berezovsky, Kia Joorabchian and Nojan Bedroud.

Four Brazilian directors of the club were also told to testify about the alleged money laundering and international transfers of soccer players next month.

Brazilian authorities have said Berezovsky is an investor in the sports management group Media Sports Investments, or MSI, which was run in Brazil by Joorabchian.

MSI bought a majority stake in Corinthians in 2004, but its authority was later challenged by longtime Brazilian directors of the club.

Corinthians and MSI denied the charges on Thursday and said they obeyed all laws.

Berezovsky was Russia's most prominent and controversial businessman in the mid and late 1990s and a Kremlin insider under Russia's first post-Soviet president, Boris Yeltsin.

But he fled to London in 2000 and has become a vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin.

Britain has annoyed Moscow by rejecting requests to extradite the businessman to Russia on corruption charges.

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