Roman Abramovich won his long-running court battle
London – Julie Cordier
Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich won his long-running court battle against Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky on Friday.
Berezovsky accused Abramovich of blackmail,
breach of trust and breach on contract for which he demanded more than £3 billion in damages.
Berezovsky claimed that the Chelsea club owner intimidated him into selling shares in the Russian oil company Sibneft.
Abramovich denied the accusations.
In her ruling at London High Court, Mrs Justice Gloster described Berozovsky as being an \"inherently unreliable\" witness.
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.\"
She dismissed all accusations against Roman Abramovich, and said that she found Mr Abramovich \"to be a truthful, and on the whole reliable, witness\".
Both men became extremely wealthy after the fall of communism in Russia as former state-owned firms became privatised.
The court heard that the two businessmen became friends when they formed a partnership to own oil company Sibneft.
Berezovsky said to the press after the verdict: \"I am absolutely amazed by what\'s happened today... particularly because Lady Gloster took the responsibility to rewrite Russian history.\"
Abramovich did not attend court on Friday, but a statement was issued on his behalf after the verdict: \"There were many serious allegations made against Mr Abramovich by Mr Berezovsky, including attacks on Mr Abramovich\'s honesty and integrity.
\"We are pleased that the judge has firmly rejected all such allegations and has described Mr Abramovich as a truthful and frank witness who showed a responsible and honest approach when giving evidence in this case.\"