Abramovich fails to halt £2bn claim


Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has lost an appeal over a two billion pounds claim against him by Boris Berezovsky

Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich has lost an appeal over a £2 billion claim against him by fellow Russian oligarch and former business partner Boris Berezovsky.

Mr Abramovich had asked the Court of Appeal to overturn a ruling by High Court judge Mr Justice Colman who refused to strike out the action.

But three appeal judges agreed that the claim – scheduled for trial next year – should go ahead.

Mr Berezovsky alleged that Mr Abramovich used “threats and intimidation” to force him to sell shares in Russian oil company Sibneft at a fraction of their value.

These threats included pressure from Mr Abramovich that if the shares were not sold, they would be expropriated by the Kremlin, according to the claim.

On appeal, Mr Abramovich said the claim for intimidation should be struck out because it does not allege he threatened that he would do something illegitimate and actions of the Russian state cannot be determined by the UK courts.

In 2005, Mr Abramovich sold Sibneft to state-run OAO Gazprom for £8.5 billion.

The two men, who were once business partners, are among the richest in the world – but at the time Mr Berezovsky launched the action in 2009, his estimated £500 million fortune was dwarfed by Mr Abramovich’s £10.8 billion.

Mr Berezovsky fled to the UK in 2000 after falling out with the then Russian president Vladimir Putin.

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