Oligarch Boris Berezovsky may have left debts of £309m, court hears


Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky may have left debts of more than £300m when he died in “tragic and mysterious” circumstances, the High Court heard today.

Mr Justice Morgan said there was a dispute about whether or not Mr Berezovsky’s estate was solvent. But he said reports from receivers who had analysed Mr Berezovsky’s financial affairs suggested the estate was insolvent, with debts which could total as much as £309m.

Detail emerged after one of Mr Berezovsky’s daughters asked to be allowed to become an executor of the estate. The court was told Ekaterina Berezovskaya disputed that her father’s estate was insolvent and questioned receivers’ analysis.

Mr Justice Morgan said: “The receivers have told me a great deal about what they have uncovered.” He said he had seen detail of alleged debts.

Anthony Trace QC, for Ms Berezovskaya, said the judge was not in a position to decide whether Mr Berezovsky’s estate was insolvent. He said there were a “number of things” receivers “have not done” and questioned the adequacy of their investigation.

Mr Trace said Ms Berezovskaya had been appointed executor by her father, who had “died in tragic and mysterious circumstances”.

The judge later appointed Ms Berezovskaya an administrator of her father’s estate on a “limited” basis. He said she could be dealing with some “personal matters” and matters relating to litigation.

Mr Berezovsky, 67, was found dead at his home in Ascot, Berkshire in March. A coroner has heard that he was found on a bathroom floor with a ligature around his neck. The oligarch, who last year lost a multibillion-pound High Court battle with Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, could have run up more than £100m in legal bills since 2011.

In July of that year, he paid out Britain’s biggest-ever divorce settlement to his ex-wife, Galina Besharova.

He later built up fees totalling more than £250,000 after becoming embroiled in a case at the High Court with his former partner, Elena Gorbunova, who sat at his side throughout much of his battle with Mr Abramovich.