'Angry, embittered and a liar': Abramovich's stinging rebuke for rival

 

The Chelsea Football Club owner, Roman Abramovich, has unleashed his most withering personal attack yet on his former business associate Boris Berezovsky, almost three months into the £3.5bn trial between the two men.

At the beginning of two days of closing submissions at London's Commercial Court, Mr Abramovich's barrister, Jonathan Sumption QC, called Mr Berezovsky an "angry and embittered man" with "truly prodigious powers of self-deception".

Mr Berezovsky is suing Mr Abramovich for more than $6bn (£3.5bn), claiming he was forced to sell his shares in valuable oil and aluminium businesses at a knockdown price, or face their re-appropriation by Putin's Kremlin, for whom Mr Abramovich acted as a messenger and enforcer.

The two Russians again sat on opposite sides of the court as Mr Sumption, the country's leading lawyer, delivered his final closing speech before being elevated to the Supreme Court bench next year.

"Mr Berezovsky was a persistently and deliberately untruthful witness," he told Mrs Justice Gloster. "There are so many occasions when he can be shown to have made up the facts in which he had no positive belief or which he positively knew to be false, it is simply not possible to take his word for anything."

Mr Sumption said many of Mr Berezovsky's allegations had been done "for show," because he "wants to make a point against the Russian government, he wants to discredit Mr Abramovich who he believes, in fact wrongly, to have supplanted him by occupying the sort of position in the Kremlin of Mr Putin that Mr Berezovsky himself once occupied under Boris Yeltsin."

Comparing Mr Berezovsky to Owen Glendower in Shakespeare's Henry IV Part 1, he said: "Mr Berezovsky has found it very difficult to accept that, for all his former importance as a power broker and for all the great wealth that he has obtained by that means, in business terms he was a relatively marginal player. He has a constant and palpable desire to portray himself as the central indispensable figure in every venture that he has touched."

Mr Berezovsky, who has sat patiently through almost every day of the lengthy trial, missed small amounts of the proceedings as he paced the corridors outside, talking loudly on his phone in English and Russian.

Mr Abramovich maintains the billions of dollars he paid to Mr Berezovsky was for krysha – the Russian word for roof – in this case meaning in return for both physical and political protection, and that Mr Berezovsky never held a genuine ownership stake in the oil and aluminium business.

Mr Berezovsky's barrister, Laurence Rabinowitz QC, will make his closing speech next month.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Associate - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL FIRM - A...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Law Costs - London City

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - EXCELLENT FIRM - We have an outstandin...

Austen Lloyd: In-House Solicitor / Company Secretary - London

Excellent Package: Austen Lloyd: IN-HOUSE - NATIONAL CHARITY - An exciting and...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee