Berezovsky did not provide a cent to Abramovich empire, court told

The bitter public feud between two Russian oligarchs descended into further trading of insults yesterday as Boris Berezovsky was described as having a "lively sense of his own importance".

Mr Berezovsky, said to be worth £500m, is embroiled in a court-room clash with the Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich, estimated to be worth £8.6 bn.

Mr Abramovich is being sued by Mr Berezovsky, who alleges breach of trust and of contract over the oil firm Sibneft and is claiming more than £3.2bn in damages. He claims he was "intimidated" into selling shares in the Russian oil company at a fraction of their value.

But yesterday the club owner's QC Jonathan Sumption accused Mr Berezovsky of grandstanding to members of his "private circle". He told the High Court that his actions appear to conform to the "classic psychology of the political exile". Mr Berezovsky is due to give evidence today at the Commercial Court in London in a trial that promises to lay bare the shadowy gangland world of mid-1990s Russia over the next two months.

Mr Abramovich denies the allegations, disputes that "oral agreements" were made and insists Mr Berezovsky is not entitled to damages, having not "contributed a single cent" to acquiring or building up Sibneft, nor made any managerial contribution.

His lawyer has told judge Mrs Justice Gloster that Mr Berezovsky left Russia in 2000 after a dispute with Vladimir Putin and subsequently settled in England.

He described Mr Berezovsky at the time as a "power broker" paid by businesses controlled by Mr Abramovich for his services as a "political godfather" following the collapse of communism in Russia in the 1990s.

In written papers presented to the judge, Mr Abramovich's lawyer said Mr Berezovsky's claims for damages are "difficult to justify".

"It may well be that Mr Berezovsky genuinely believes that having put Mr Abramovich on the road to one of the world's largest personal fortunes in 1995, Mr Abramovich owes him in some loose sense part of the benefits," said Mr Sumption, in a written outline argument before the court.

But he added: "Like many of his statements to members of his inner circle, it is grandstanding by a man with a lively sense of his own importance."

The hearing continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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: Project Assistant

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a leading company in the field ...

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£26041 - £34876 per annum: Recruitment Genius: There has never been a more exc...

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms