Borjomi Offices Searched Due to Berezovsky Link

Federal investigators searched the offices of IDS Borjomi Beverages in relation to the company's links to exiled businessman Boris Berezovsky, Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said on Wednesday.

Officials from the committee's main investigations directorate searched the offices of Borjomi Center and IDS Borjomi in Moscow in the context of the criminal cases against the self-exiled businessman.

"The searches are explained by the information received by the investigators that Berezovsky might possibly have invested tens of millions of U.S. dollars in [Borjomi Center and IDS Borjomi]. Investigators assume that the money invested was acquired by criminal activity," a statement published on the Investigative Committee's website said.

It was reported last week that Salford Capital, which controls Borjomi and was founded by Berezovsky and his partners, is putting its holding up for sale.

Borjomi's portfolio includes the iconic mineral water brand of the same name, which Russia's chief sanitation doctor, Gennady Onishenko, banned from the country in 2006, as well as the Edelweiss and Svyatoy Istochnik bottled water brands.

Berezovsky has been found guilty in Russian courts on charges of fraud, embezzlement and money laundering relating to AvtoVAZ, LogoVaz and Aeroflot. Under two verdicts he has already been sentenced for 13 and six years in prison. In 2012, he was charged in another case in which he was accused of helping to fuel mass riots in Russia.

The businessman has been in hiding in the United Kingdom since 2000. The British courts refused to extradite him in 2003, and he has been granted a refugee status in the country. Last week Berezovsky lost a high-profile case in the British courts in which he claimed tycoon and former friend Roman Abramovich swindled him out of $6 billion in the sale of a Russian oil company.

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