Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich denied on Monday that a deal he reached with tycoon Boris Berezovsky back in 1995 envisaged a 50 percent division of shares in oil company Sibneft.
In testimony at the Commercial Court of London, Abramovich said "no" when asked whether the deal he reached with Berezovsky and his business partner, Badri Patarkatsishvili, involved an equal division of Sibneft shares.
Abramovich also took issue with Berezovsky's claim that it was impossible to run a business in Russia in the 1990s without Berezovsky’s "protection."
“I did not need him [Berezovsky] to start a business in Russia, but he really did help me to start a big business [such as Sibneft],” Abramovich said.
Berezovsky is seeking compensation for a number of assets he claims he was coerced into selling to Abramovich between 2000 to 2003.
Berezovsky claims in his lawsuit that Abramovich intimidated him and Patarkatsishvili into selling a number of assets including 43 percent of Sibneft shares and a stake in aluminum group Rusal for significantly less than the shares were worth.
The British mass media has described the dispute between two Russian oligarchs as the legal battle of the year.