Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Russian Oligarchs Clash in London Court

Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich and ex-oligarch Boris Berezovsky, now an émigré wanted in Russia on various charges, met in person in London's High Court. Berezovsky has sued Abramovich for some $5 billion, claiming that his former friend and partner "intimidated" him into selling his shares in the Russian oil company Sibneft at a fraction of their true value after Berezovsky lost his political influence. Abramovich denies that Berezovsky was ever his business partner. He says he merely "hired" Berezovsky, a key figure in President Boris Yeltsin's entourage, to provide political cover – known by the Russian word krysha (roof) – essential to any businessman wishing to survive in the 1990s. The case promises to shed light on Russia's murky privatisation program of the 1990s, during which a small group of well-connected businessmen became fantastically rich.


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