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The hearing of a 3 billion pounds lawsuit, filed by fugitive oligarch Boris Berezovsky against his fellow tycoon Roman Abramovich, continues in the High Court of London. Berezovsky’s “long-standing partner” Elena Gorbunova testified on his behalf before the court on Tuesday.
In a written statement Gorbunova, a key witness for the plaintiff, recalled meeting between Roman Abramovich, Boris Berezovsky, and Badri Patarkatsishvili on the French Riviera.
Berezovsky alleges that it was at this meeting when Abramovich discussed the conditions under which Berezovsky and Patarkatsishvili gave up their shares in the TV station ORT. Shortly before the meeting the police arrested deputy director general of airline Aeroflot Nikolai Glushkov, Berezovsky’s friend and godfather of his and Gorbunova’s two children. Berezovsky claims that Abramovich clearly “threatened” him and that if he agreed to sell the controlling stake in ORT to the state, Abramovich would secure Glushkov’s release.
Abramovich maintains the meeting never took place.
Gorbunova testified that that she could clearly picture the meeting. “I did not hear the detailed exchanges, but the first 15 minutes were sufficient for me to understand that it was blackmail,” Gorbunova said.
Abramovich claims he was in a different place and says there is no stamp in his passport.
“We know everything we need to know about stamps in Abramovich’s passport”, Gorbunova said. “Strange metamorphoses are happening to these stamps”.
Abramovich says they have never been friends with Berezovsky and that he hired Berezovsky as a “godfather”.
Gorbunova said that she had been a good friend with Abramovich’s former wife Irina, and they had spent holidays together.
Gorbunova admitted that Berezovsky borrowed money from her for the litigation. Asked by Abramovich’s lawyer if Berezovsky would pay back if he was successfull, she said, “I think it’s natural to assume so”. Earlier Berezovsky said that it was obvious that Gorbunova would gain financially from his victory. “Naturally. We are the family,” the oligarch said.
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