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Home >> World
UPDATED: 10:45, October 21, 2005
Latvia denies Russian pressure over Berezovsky
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Latvian Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis denied allegations that the decision to bar Russian-wanted tycoon Boris Berezovsky from entry into the Baltic republic was taken under Russian pressure.

"It would be wrong to believe that Latvia takes decisions according to any Russian demand," he told the LTV1 TV channel late on Thursday.

Kalvitis also said he personally "encountered no Russian pressure" over the recent visit of Berezovsky to Latvia.

The decision to put Berezovsky on a "black list" appeared after special services said his visits to Latvia have political, rather than business purposes, according to the prime minister.

Self-exiled Berezovsky, who has a foreign travel passport for the name of Platon Yelenin, visited Riga on September 21 together with Neil Bush, younger brother of the US President, and spent two days in the city. Officially he represented the Bush-created Ignite! Company engaged in children's education software. Berezovsky also visited Riga in February.

Both times Russian prosecutors demanded to extradite Berezovsky, who they accuse of major fraud, and both times Latvia refused.

Latvian observers believe Berezovsky's visits, which strained relations with Russia, were the reason for the resignation of Interior Minister Eriks Jekabsons, who maintained contacts with Berezovsky. However Jekabsons denied the claims saying he resigned because of contradictions over the 2006 budget.

Source: Agencies

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