Berezovsky denies relation to Pussy Riot

Controversial Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky has categorically denied allegations that he played some role in the Pussy Riot punk band's performance at Christ the Savior Cathedral.

"Surely, I have no relation to Pussy Riot," Berezovsky said on Echo Moskvy on Wednesday.

Orthodox activist Alexei Veshnyak, introducing himself as the head of the NGO Preobrazheniye (Transfiguration), said earlier in a TV program hosted by Arkady Mamontov on Rossiya-1 television channel that, when he was meeting with Berezovsky at a London restaurant in February 2011, the latter showed him pictures of Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and her husband Pyotr Verzilov.

Berezovsky acknowledged that he knows Veshnyak well enough but has rarely met him of late. Berezovsky said Veshnyak did come to London several times.

"I haven't discussed any project with him," he said.

Talking about the Pussy Riot stunt, Berezovsky said he "would have been proud if I had invented this as a project."

"This is a very creative project, and it is absolutely right to bring up the issue of how much the Orthodox Church is the spiritual leader of the nation today," he said.

The defense team of the Pussy Riot members who were recently sentenced to 2 years in prison for disorderly conduct at the church branded as absurd the allegation that Berezovsky had ordered the scandalous performance. "The idea aired in the Special Correspondent program that Berezovsky was behind the Pussy Riot action at Christ the Savior Cathedral is ridiculous, to put it mildly. What on earth does Berezovsky have to do with this?" lawyer Mark Feigin told Interfax.

Meanwhile, a law enforcement source told Interfax on Wednesday that Russia would send out international requests on freezing property belonging to Berezovsky's and his late business partner Arkady (Badri) Patarkatsishvili's relatives.

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