Friday 15 December 2017

Oligarchs trade insults in €3.7bn court battle

Terri Judd in London

The bitter public feud between two Russian oligarchs descended into further trading of insults yesterday as Boris Berezovsky was described as having a "lively sense of his own importance".

Mr Berezovsky, said to be worth £500m (€578m), is embroiled in a courtroom clash with Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich, estimated to be worth £8.6bn (€9.9bn).

Mr Abramovich is being sued by Mr Berezovsky, who alleges breach of trust and of contract over the oil firm Sibneft and is claiming more than £3.2bn (€3.7bn) in damages. He claims he was "intimidated" into selling company shares at reduced price.

Mr Berezovsky is due to give evidence today at the Commercial Court in London in a trial that promises to lay bare the shadowy gangland world of mid-1990s Russia.

Mr Abramovich denies the allegations, disputes that "oral agreements" were made and insists Mr Berezovsky is not entitled to damages, having not "contributed a single cent" to acquiring or building up Sibneft, nor made any managerial contribution.

His lawyer has told the court that Mr Berezovsky left Russia in 2000 after a dispute with Vladimir Putin. He described Mr Berezovsky at the time as a "power broker" paid by businesses controlled by Mr Abramovich.

In papers presented to the judge, Mr Abramovich's lawyer said Mr Berezovsky's claims for damages were "difficult to justify".

The hearing continues.

Irish Independent

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