MOSCOW, November 11 - RAPSI. During the final day of testimony at London High Court of Justice, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich said that long before Sibneft issue he planned to live an honest life and pay taxes, reads the hearings transcript.
Roman Abramovich is the defendant in Boris Berezovsky's $5.5 billion lawsuit.
The court began hearing Berezovsky's lawsuit against Abramovich on October 3. Berezovsky seeks compensation for assets he was allegedly 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.
"When I started doing business, when first cooperatives appeared and I began to earn decent amounts of money, of course at that time I wanted to show everybody that life has changed, that this is a new life, that we wanted to pay taxes and live honestly," Abramovich said.
Earlier in his testimony the Chelsea FC owner said that shareholders of Sibneft and other Russian assets which became a subject of the dispute with Berezovsky were not mentioned on purpose.
According to him, the names were never mentioned, instead expressions like "the company's management" and etc were used, while Abramovich was Sibneft's sole shareholder.
Everybody was to benefit from rumors that Berezovsky was a company's owner.
Abramovich added that, in fact, no one was really interested as to who really was Sibneft's real shareholder, but everyone, first and foremost, foreign investors wanted to know, how Berezovsky is connected with the company.
Abramovich stopped testifying on Thursday. Now the court must hear defense witnesses, who include former Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Alexander Voloshin, as well as businessmen Alexander Mamut, Viktor Gorodilov and Eugene Shvidler.