MOSCOW, November 17 - RAPSI. Millhouse top-manager Marina Goncharova told the court on Wednesday how she was bringing millions of U.S. dollars to Boris Berezovsky as part of the hearings over the $5.5 billion lawsuit, filed by exiled oligarch , the hearing's transcript reads.
The court began hearing Berezovsky's lawsuit against Abramovich on October 3. Berezovsky seeks compensation for assets he was forced to sell to Abramovich between 2000 and 2003.
Berezovsky claims 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.
"Mr. Abramovich ordered the first payment in February 1995, it amounted to $5 million in cash, and it was something surrealistic for us," Goncharova said. At first, she said, she could not believe that it was necessary to find these $5 million. Later Abramovich's companies used bank transfers to pay funds to third parties.
According to Goncharova, when the cash was needed the money was brought right to the office, sometimes by "Gazprombank people", then the money was transferred to Berezovsky to his LogoVAZ.
Goncharova, a witness for Abramovich testified in court. She said she started working for him in 1988 and in early 90s she was a rank-and-file accountant in one of his companies.
She said she did not know Berezovsky personally until February 1995. She only knew that there is such a politician.
Financial specialists of Abramovich's trading companies maintained the reporting on the transfer of funds to Berezovsky and his partner Patarkatsishvili, Goncharova said.
Earlier, lawyer Laurence Rabinowitz asked Abramovich about his payments to Berezovsky. He was questioning the Chelsea owner how the payments were made, comparing the dates of other payments by companies owned by Abramovich at the time.
However, Abramovich failed to provide any documents to prove his statements.