London, December 15 (Interfax) – Exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky has said he would have preferred his 3.2-billion-pound claim on Roman Abramovich, another Russian tycoon, to be examined by a Russian court but that he has brought it before a British court as he does not believe fair litigation would be possible in Russia.
Berezovsky, who received refugee status in Britain in 2003 and lives in London, accuses Abramovich, who also lives in Britain, of forcing him to sell a 50% stake in oil company Sibneft at a price far below its value.
Berezovsky claims he was paid $1.3 billion for the stake. Several years later, in 2005, Sibneft was bought out by Gazprom for $13.1 billion.
Abramovich claims that the money he paid Berezovsky was a reward for political support, and that Berezovsky had no rights to the Sibneft stake.
“I have no doubt that I would never have left Russia if one would have been able to get a fair trial in Russia,” Berezovsky told Interfax on Thursday.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said during a live televised interview on Thursday: “It would be better if they had their litigation in Russia.”
“This would be more honest, both for them and for our country,” Putin said. “It’s here that the money was earned and stolen, and it’s here that they should try to divide it.”
[RU BUS POL PRO]