Monday, 3 October 2011

Battle of the Oligarchs as Roman Abramovich and Boris Berezovsky Appear at High Court

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: Roman Abramovich forced fellow oligarch Boris Berozovsky [sic] to sell him billions of pounds of shares cheaply by threatening that Vladimir Putin would seize his assets if he did not comply, a court heard.

It is claimed Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club, conned his former friend and mentor out of more than £2 billion.

The case saw two of Britain’s richest men go head to head as they made allegations about Kremlin intrigue and protection rackets in a High Court case worth £3.5bn.

It is thought special security measures have included sweeping the court for bombs and ensuring the building is sniper-proof.

In one of the only times the pair have come face to face in more than ten years after they fell out following a meeting the pair sat at opposite ends of a court room in London, dressed in expensive suits and surrounded by their entourage and dozens of highly-paid lawyers.

Berezovsky claims that he was threatened at a meeting in his mansion in Cap d’Antibe[s] in the south of France and forced to sell his shares in Sibneft, a Russian oil and gas conglomerate the two men had created with a third partner.

Abramovich is said to have vowed to get Putin, then the president and now the prime minister of Russia, to reclaim Berezovsky’s assets and to prevent the release of one his friends from jail.

It was claimed the Chelsea owner was “a man to whom wealth and influence mattered more than friendship and loyalty,” said Laurence Rabinowitz QC representing Berezovsky. » | Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent | Monday, October 03, 2011