Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky called Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich a “bastard” after being “blackmailed”, a High Court judge was told.
Berezovsky was “outraged” after a meeting with the Russian billionaire in France 11 years ago, Justice Gloster heard.
Berezovsky, 65, is suing Abramovich, 44, for £3bn at a commercial court trial in London.
He says the Russian billionaire businessman “betrayed” him and “intimidated” him into selling shares in Russian oil company Sibneft for a “mere 1.3 billion” US dollars – (£800m) – “a fraction of their true worth”.
Abramovich denies the allegations and disagrees that Berezovsky is entitled to damages.
He says Berezovsky was paid millions of pounds for his services as a “political godfather” but was not a business partner.
Berezovsky alleges that Abramovich “intimidated” him into selling shares in a number of companies after he left Russia in 2000, following a fall-out with then President Vladimir Putin.
Berezovsky’s long-standing partner, Elena Gorbunova, told how she recalled the aftermath of the meeting, in Cap d’Antibes in December 2000, in a written witness statement presented to the judge.
She said she remembered that after the meeting in France in December 2000, Berezovsky told her that Abramovich was “blackmailing” him into giving up his interests in a Russian company.
“I remember that after the meeting, Boris was outraged,” she said, in the written witness statement. “I remember Boris saying that Roman was a bastard.”
She said Berezovsky held a party to celebrate his 55th birthday in January 2001 but Abramovich was not invited.
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“He was never again invited to any of our parties,” said Gorbunova. “Boris never wanted to see him again.”
She said she “understood” that Abramovich denied meeting Berezovsky in December 2000 but added: “I am sure that Roman is wrong about this. Although, I do not remember the precise date of the meeting, I can picture it very clearly.”
Gorbunova said Berezovsky and Abramovich “were friends” at the time and she was “good friends” with Abramovich’s ex-wife Irina.
She said the two families holidayed together and attended birthday parties.
The hearing continues.