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Berezovsky to pay $56 mln for Abramovich fees after lost case

Friday, 12 Oct 2012 | 8:54 AM ET

LONDON, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky will pay 35 million pounds ($56 million) towards the legal fees of Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich after failing in a $6 billion London court battle with his former protege, lawyers said.

Abramovich, the world's 68th richest man with a $12.1 billion fortune, emerged victorious in August from a legal battle after Berezovsky had accused him of using the threat of Kremlin intervention to make him sell prized assets at a knockdown price.

Berezovsky, who was a Moscow powerbroker under President Boris Yeltsin only to fall foul of his successor Vladimir Putin,

said Abramovich used the threat of retribution to force him into selling too cheaply out of Sibneft, Russia's fourth biggest oil company.

He had claimed $6 billion in damages, largely over Sibneft, but London's High Court rejected his bid, with presiding judge Elizabeth Gloster calling him an "unimpressive and inherently unreliable witness" who gave sometimes dishonest evidence.

On Friday, lawyers told Gloster at the High Court that Berezovsky had agreed to pay 35 million pounds towards Abramovich's legal costs, the Press Association reported.

The court was given no detail about the total fees run up by Berezovsky, and Gloster was told all outstanding issues had been settled and the litigation was at an end.

The legal action laid bare the intrigue behind the post-Soviet carve-up of Russia's vast natural resources and provided insights into the murky world of Russian business.

Abramovich, who bought Chelsea in 2003, had denied Berezovsky owned the assets he claimed and said that he had merely paid his former mentor for political cover and protection.

($1 = 0.6234 British pounds)

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Anthony Barker)

((michael.holden@thomsonreuters.com)(+44 207 542 3213)(Reuters Messaging: michael.holden.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: BRITAIN ABRAMOVICH/COSTS

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