London, Oct 4(ANI): Russian oligarch Boris Berozovsky has claimed that Chelsea boss Roman Abramovich had forced him to sell shares worth over two billion pounds at a low price by threatening that then Russian President Vladimir Putin would seize Berozovsky's assets if he failed to comply with the order.
The two oligarchs have moved the high court on the issue.
The 3.5 billion pound case is believed to be one of the most expensive in legal history, and is expected to continue for three months, The Telegraph reports.
Berezovsky argued before the court that Abramovich had threatened him at a meeting in Cap d'Antibe mansion in France and forced to sell his shares in a Russian oil and gas conglomerate, Sibneft, which was created by them along with a third partner.
Berezovsky's lawyer Laurence Rabinowitz described Abramovich as "a man to whom wealth and influence mattered more than friendship and loyalty,"
"This is a case about two men who worked together to acquire an asset that would make them wealthy beyond the wildest dreams of most people and who in the process, we say, became and remained good friends, " Rabinowitz said.
But Abramovich denied that Berezovsky was his friend and claimed that he hired Berezovsky to provide protection from Chechen gangsters. bramovich claimed that he was being generous by telling Berezovsky to sell shares in loss-making Signeft, and agreeing to a substantial payout of 800 million pounds
But the pair did "not receive anything approaching the full value for their ownership interests in Sibneft," Rabinowitz said, countering Abramovich's claim.
Abramovich sold Sibneft to the state-run company, Gazprom for 8.4 billion pounds in 2009. (ANI)