Abramovich: it's a pain taking my plane

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The Independent Online

Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea Football Club, told the High Court yesterday about the complications of flying in private jets. The Russian billionaire said preparing to fly from Moscow to the South of France in his own plane was a "lengthy procedure" that took up to six hours.

Mr Abramovich, 45, was giving evidence in a trial before Mrs Justice Gloster at the Commercial Court in London, where he is being sued for more than £3bn by Boris Berezovsky, an exiled Russian oligarch.

He spoke in Russian and his words were translated. "If it's my own jet... you have to call the crew, you have to fuel up, you have to get the permission, and most importantly you have to agree it with Eurocontrol," Mr Abramovich told the court. "The Russian Federation has to let you out from its territory. Everything is quite complicated."

Mr Abramovich has spent more than eight days in the witness box.

Mr Berezovsky, 65, claims Mr Abramovich "betrayed" him and "intimidated" him into selling shares in the Russian oil company Sibneft for a "mere" $1.3bn – "a fraction of their true worth".

Mr Abramovich denies the allegations. The hearing continues.