Money talks: The battle of the billionaires

A sizeable contingent of the world's super-rich has featured in the court case involving Roman Abramovich and Boris Berezovsky. But who are these people? And whose side are they on?

Blacked-out Maybachs, private jets, sprawling yachts, glamorous women, helicopter crashes, Arab sheikhs and murdered spies: the transcripts of the extraordinary court case between Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea football club, and his nemesis, Boris Berezovsky, read like the pages of a Hollywood script.

Re-imagined as a child's fairy tale, it might go a little like this: At the top of three flights of winding stairs, in a dimly lit room, down a quiet alleyway in London town, there is a box. And in that box, enough very rich men to fill a football team have quietly sat, one by one, to try to explain why one of the very, very rich men named above should be given a very, very big bit of the other very, very rich man's fortune.

Now, after eight weeks, all the billionaires have been and gone, and Lady Justice Gloster must decide who to give the money to. She still has to hear from expert witnesses in Russian history and Russian law. But the difficulty she faces is that the two accounts of what happened are so wildly different.

Very simply, Mr Berezovsky claims Mr Abramovich forced him to sell valuable shares in commodities firms they jointly owned, or face their being reappropriated by the Kremlin. Mr Abramovich says the pair were never business partners and that Mr Berezovsky owned nothing and was simply his "political godfather", whom he paid for protection and political influence.

Little ground has been conceded by either side as the case has laid bare the extraordinary conditions of "Wild East" Russia in the 1990s. Such a situation "has not been seen in this country since the 15th century", Mr Abramovich's barrister, Jonathan Sumption QC, told the judge. It was "not easy" for British lawyers to understand, he said. "But", he added, "your Ladyship must have read Shakespeare."

Both barristers are yet to make their closing remarks. Mr Sumption will do so shortly before Christmas; Mr Berezovsky's barrister, Laurence Rabinowitz QC, will do so in the new year.

Meanwhile, Mrs Justice Gloster has a script far longer than any of the Bard's to ponder, and is not expected to report until at least April.

In the blue corner... Team Roman

Eugene Shvidler

Abramovich's closest aide and business partner. Said "egoentric" Berezovsky had used Abramovich as his personal "cashier" and that he was "crazy" to agree to Mr Berezovsky's $1.3bn in protection money in 2001. Said Berezovsky's alleged blackmail was "totally out of character for Mr Abramovich".

Worth: £770m

Eugene Tenenbaum

Now a Chelsea director, he joined Sibneft in 1998. Told court that fellow former Abramovich aide Ruslan Fomichev had decided not to appear as a witness after receiving a text from Berezovsky. "It said that, 'I know you're helping them. I'm watching you'," claimed Mr Tenenbaum.

Worth: Unknown

Vasily Anisimov

Emerged from the aluminium wars with a reputation far less muddied than many of his associates, the metals magnate is now a partner of Arsenal shareholder Alisher Usmanov. Sold several of the case's disputed assets to Abramovich in 2000, including the world's largest aluminium smelter at Krasnoyarsk.

Worth: £1bn

Andrei Gorodilov

His father was the boss of an oil firm Abramovich wanted to buy to form Sibneft, and suddenly Abramovich gives him a job at his oil trading company. Since 2009, he has been second-in-command at Millhouse, Mr Abramovich's investment company.

Worth: £700m

Oleg Deripaska

Putin's favourite oligarch gave his evidence from New York. Said he once disliked Berezovsky but was now "completely indifferent" and described a crucial meeting at London's Dorchester Hotel in March 2000, at which Berezovsky arrived late and wearing a dressing gown.

Worth: £11bn

Alexander Voloshin

A former Chief of Staff to Presidents Yeltsin and Putin, Voloshin may, or may not, be a billionaire. He is, however, chairman of the world's largest leading nickel and palladium producer, Norilsk Nickel, which reported revenues of US$15bn in 2010.

Worth: Unknown

In the red corner... Team Boris

David Reuben

He and his brother Simon are ranked as the UK's second richest people, having made billions exporting Russian aluminium in the 1990s. Says when he sold aluminium to Mr Abramovich he had to ask "Who is Roman?" – and that Mr Berezovsky and his business partner Badri Patarkatsishvilli were partners in the deal.

Worth: £5.5bn

Leonid Nevzlin

The actual wealth of the former No 2 at infamous oil firm Yukos is difficult to ascertain since the company was vaporised by Putin's Kremlin and he went into exile in Israel. Ha said that when he first tried to merge Yukos with Sibneft in 1998, he was told that "the final say would be Berezovsky's".

Worth: £1.4bn (in 2004)

Nikolai Glushkov

The former Aeroflot director and godfather to Mr Berezovsky's children was a rich man until his imprisonment in 2000. Mr Berezovsky says his jailing was part of a bid by the Kremlin to bully him into selling shares. Said he was told before his arrest that he would be killed on his way to the Public Prosecutor's Office.

Worth: Unknown

Mikhail Chernoy

Declined to give evidence via videolink, fearing it might compromise his own lawsuit against a fellow aluminium magnate. Berezovsky said Chernoy had given him $50m to "help me with my life" – not to cover cost of trial.

Worth: £650m (in 2006)

Badri Patarkatsishvili

Mr Berezovsky's most important business partner would have been the most important witness had he not died unexpectedly in 2008, whereupon his assets were seized by Georgian authorities. Made billions from "decriminalising" Russia's gangland aluminium industry.

Worth: £7.7bn (estimated wealth at time of death)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea