The Chelsea football club owner, Roman Abramovich, has won a high court action against a rival Russian oligarch, Boris Berezovsky, over a disputed £3bn debt
The Chelsea football club owner, Roman Abramovich, has won a high court action against a rival Russian oligarch, Boris Berezovsky, over a disputed £3bn debt.
Berezovsky, 66, was in the central London court to hear the judge, Mrs Justice Gloster, rule that he had lost his claim, which involved allegations of blackmail, breach of trust and breach of contract.
Abramovich, 45, who had denied the accusations, was not in the Rolls building courtroom to hear the final decision in the 10-month hearing.
Berezovsky, the former Kremlin insider turned bitter critic of Vladimir Putin, had claimed that Abramovich cheated him out of more than $5bn (£3.2bn) and “intimidated” him into selling shares in a Russian oil company at a fraction of their value. Abramovich, who remains on good terms with President Putin, said he did not owe Berezovsky anything.
It was the biggest private litigation battle in British legal history.
In her judgment, Gloster said the case “fell to be decided almost exclusively on the facts; very few issues of law were involved … The case was one where, in the ultimate analysis, the court had to decide whether to believe Mr Berezovsky or Mr Abramovich.”
Berezovsky, she concluded, was not credible. “On my analysis of the entirety of the evidence, I found Mr Berezovsky an unimpressive, and inherently unreliable, witness, who regarded truth as a transitory, flexible concept, which could be moulded to suit his current purposes.
“At times the evidence which he gave was deliberately dishonest; sometimes he was clearly making his evidence up as he went along in response to the perceived difficulty in answering the questions in a manner consistent with his case.
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