Roman Ambramovich to learn Boris Berezovsky case outcome

 

Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich will discover this week whether he has won a multibillion-pound legal battle with fellow Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, court officials have said.

Mr Berezovsky, 66, claimed that Mr Abramovich, 45, had "intimidated" him into selling shares in a Russian oil company at a fraction of their value, during a High Court trial which started in London in October 2011 and ended in January 2012.

He also claimed that Mr Abramovich had broken a promise made during a deal relating to an aluminium company.

Mr Berezovsky alleged blackmail, breach of trust and breach of contract and claimed more than £3 billion damages.

Mr Abramovich denied the allegations and denied that Mr Berezovsky was entitled to damages.

Judicial Office officials said today that High Court judge Mrs Justice Gloster would deliver a ruling in London on Friday.

A Judicial Office spokesman said Mrs Justice Gloster would give a summary of her judgment at the High Court on Friday.

He said the judge's full judgment would be published on a date to be fixed.

Laurence Rabinowitz QC, for Mr Berezovsky, told the trial both men had worked together to acquire Russian oil company Sibneft following the collapse of the Soviet Union two decades ago - and became friends.

Mr Berezovsky claimed that in 1995 he, a colleague and Mr Abramovich agreed to "work together" to bring Sibneft under their control.

They had persuaded then Russian president Boris Yeltsin to "bring about the privatisation of Sibneft and its disposal into their hands", Mr Rabinowitz told the court.

But Mr Abramovich had intimidated Mr Berezovsky and his colleague into selling their ownership interest in Sibneft at a "massive undervalue" and put Mr Berezovsky "in fear for the life of his friend and the risk that his property might be expropriated", added Mr Rabinowitz.

Jonathan Sumption QC, for Mr Abramovich, said Mr Berezovsky was paid millions of pounds by businesses controlled by Mr Abramovich for his services as a "political godfather".

But Mr Sumption said Mr Berezovsky had not "contributed a single cent" to acquiring or building up Sibneft, nor made any managerial contribution.

He said Mr Berezovsky's contribution had been "important, indeed ... indispensable" but "almost entirely political".

Mr Rabinowitz told the judge that, at a meeting at the Dorchester Hotel in London on 2003, Mr Abramovich had agreed to hold half of a 50% stake in aluminium giant RusAl on trust for Mr Berezovsky and a colleague of Mr Berezovsky's.

But Mr Berezovsky claimed that in 2003, Mr Abramovich had sold half of the stake to another Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, Mr Rabinowitz added.

Mr Sumption said Mr Abramovich disputed the RusAl claim.

The court was told that Mr Berezovsky fled Russia, never to return, in late 2000, following a falling out with then president Vladimir Putin - travelling initially to France, then settling in England.

Mr Rabinowitz said Mr Berezovsky had been "betrayed" after falling out with Russian political leaders and leaving Russia.

Mr Sumption, who is now a Supreme Court judge, told the trial that lawyers were debating events in a Russian state where there had been "no rule of law".

He said quite extraordinary conditions had existed in a country where police were "corrupt" and courts open to "manipulation", and told the judge that it was not easy for UK lawyers to assess the behaviour of people who lived in "such a world".

Both Mr Berezovsky and Mr Abramovich gave evidence at the trial.

Mr Rabinowitz told the court that Mr Abramovich produced a "performance" which was a "cynical and deceitful manipulation of the trial process", showed an "apparent willingness and ability to manufacture evidence to suit his case" and "colluded" with witnesses to put forward a case directed solely at defeating Mr Berezovsky's claim "without regard to the truth".

Mr Sumption told the judge that Mr Berezovsky was "persistently and deliberately untruthful" and "made up the facts" on "many occasions".

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...