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Russians Raid Aeroflot Businesses

February 6, 1999

MOSCOW (AP) _ Russian prosecutors searched offices and seized documents at companies linked with Russian airliner Aeroflot for the second day Friday in what newspapers said was a crackdown on tycoon Boris Berezovsky.

Officials say the raids are part of a probe into several former Aeroflot executives accused of illegal business activities.

Prosecutors have not mentioned Berezovsky, who reportedly has a say in Aeroflot’s operations, as a possible suspect. But Russian media on Friday portrayed him as the primary target of a probe allegedly masterminded by Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov.

Government officials said prosecutors were investigating the activity of some institutions linked to Berezovsky.

News reports said Primakov, exasperated by Berezovsky’s efforts to exert influence on the government, sanctioned a massive offensive on the billionaire tycoon’s business interests, which include oil, cars, airlines and the media.

The operations began this week with a raid on the Sibneft oil company, considered the jewel of Berezovsky’s empire. Afterward, prosecutors said they had found evidence of a campaign to eavesdrop on Yeltsin’s family.

In the Aeroflot probe, prosecutors accompanied by elite commandos in fatigues and ski masks raided the NFQ advertising and publishing company on Thursday. They targeted three unidentified companies dealing in currency trade on Friday.

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