Russian oligarch faces legal bills for tens of millions, judge told

Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky has been left with legal bills for tens of millions of pounds after losing a High Court battle with Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, a judge was told yesterday.

Earlier this year judge Mrs Justice Gloster dismissed a series of claims by Mr Berezovsky – who wanted more than £3bn damages – relating to deals done in Russia.

Yesterday, the judge was told by lawyers that Mr Berezovsky had agreed to pay £35m towards Mr Abramovich’s legal costs in the wake of her ruling.

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The judge was given no detail of the amount of costs run up by Mr Berezovsky.

But legal magazine The Lawyer has said the case is thought to have generated “total fees” of more than £100mn.

Mr Berezovsky, 66, had sued 
and accused 45-year-old 
Mr Abramovich, of blackmail, breach of trust and breach of
 contract.

He said the billionaire Russian businessman had “intimidated” him into selling shares in a Russian oil company at a fraction of their value and broken a promise made during a deal relating to a Russian aluminium company.

Mr Abramovich said the claims had “no merit”.

Mrs Justice Gloster ruled in Mr Abramovich’s favour in August following a trial – staged in London between October 2011 and January – at which both men gave evidence.

The judge described Mr Berezovsky as an “unimpressive, and inherently unreliable, witness” but said she found Mr Abramovich to be a “truthful, and on the whole reliable, witness”.

Lawyers outlined agreements reached on the payment of legal costs at a High Court hearing in London yesterday.