MOSCOW, November 8 - RAPSI. Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, who is testifying in the $5.5 billion lawsuit filed by exiled oligarch Boris Berezovsky against him, told the London High Court of Justice that he paid $116 million for a stake in Channel One owned by Berezovsky and Badri Patarkatsishvili, whereas its official value was just $10 million, the court documents read.
The copy of the documents was made available at the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI).
Channel One is Russia's major TV channel.
The court began hearing Berezovsky's $5.5 billion lawsuit against Abramovich on October 3. Berezovsky seeks compensation for assets he was forced to sell to Abramovich between 2000 and 2003.
Berezovsky claims in his lawsuit that Abramovich intimidated him and his business partner Badri Patarkatsishvili into selling a number of assets, including a 43-percent interest in the Sibneft oil company and a stake in the Rusal aluminum group, at a fraction of their value.
The Chelsea owner said that by the end of December 2000 he made a deal with Berezovsky and Badri Patarkatsishvili to acquire from them a 49-percent interest in Channel One for $150 million. He also said he paid additional $14 million to launder the funds.
"As far as I remember I paid a total of $164 million," Abramovich said. "I paid $150 million for shares, and the remaining sum was paid to launder the funds."
Laurence Rabinowitz, the QC questioning Abramovich in court, elaborated upon the issue and said the documents of the deal were forged and this practice was "common in his team."
During the recent hearings a lot of attention was paid to money laundering committed by Berezovsky and Patarkatsishvili after they got into troubles in Russia.