Abramovich wins High Court battle

Roman AbramovichChelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich scored a resounding victory at the High Court when a judge threw out claims brought against him by Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky.

A judge in London rejected allegations against the 45-year-old Russian billionaire businessman of blackmail, breach of trust and breach of contract.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
Ruling in Mr Abramovich's favour, Mrs Justice Gloster said that 66-year-old Mr Berezovsky - who was seeking £3 billion damages - was an unimpressive and unreliable witness, who at times gave "deliberately dishonest" evidence.

Announcing her decision in a lengthy summary of her judgment, she said: "On my analysis of the entirety of the evidence, I found Mr Berezovsky an unimpressive, and inherently unreliable, witness, who regarded truth as a transitory, flexible concept, which could be moulded to suit his current purposes."

At times "the evidence which he gave was deliberately dishonest" and "sometimes he was clearly making his evidence up as he went along".

She said of Mr Berezovsky, who attended the packed courtroom for the ruling: "I regret to say that the bottom line of my analysis of Mr Berezovsky's credibility is that he would have said almost anything to support his case."

The judge rejected Mr Berezovsky's claims "in their entirety". Referring to the evidence of Mr Abramovich, who denied all the allegations against him, the judge said she found him "to be a truthful, and on the whole reliable witness".

The legal fight centred on deals done in Russia following the break-up of the Soviet Union two decades ago.

Mr Berezovsky alleged that Mr Abramovich had "intimidated" him into selling shares in a Russian oil company at a fraction of their value. He also told the judge that Mr Abramovich had broken a promise made during a deal relating to a Russian aluminium company.

Speaking outside court, Mr Berezovsky said: "I don't know about an appeal. I will have to talk to my lawyers. I am absolutely amazed. I am surprised completely. Lady Gloster took responsibility to rewrite Russian history. I don't understand. Sometimes I have the impression that Putin himself wrote this judgment."

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