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French police have impounded two yachts and other valuables owned by exiled Russian billionaire Boris Berezovsky. The seizure was made at the request of Russian prosecutors, who accuse Berezovsky of embezzlement, fraud, money-laundering and criminal conspiracy.
The boats, valued at 15 billion euros, and other property including artworks, were seized on Thursday at Golfe-Juan on the Côte d’Azur.
The crews were not present at the time.
On hearing the news, Berezowsky, who is currently in London, denied owing any yachts. But he owns a luxury villa at Cap d’Antibes, near another mansion owned by fellow oligarch, Roman Abramovich.
The Côte d’Azur has been a favourite destination of the Russian super-rich for over a decade.
French prosecutors say that Berezwosky may own them through a front company.
Several criminal inquiries are ongoing into Berezowsky, who made his fortune during the massive privatisations of the 1990s. They include accusations that he embezzled 60 billion roubles (1.5 billion euros) from carmaker AvtoVaz.
Britain has refused his extradition and granted him political asylum in 2003.