Berezovsky v Abramovich

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Berezovsky v Abramovich
Abramovich Chukotka.jpg
Court High Court
Full case name Boris Abramovich Berezovsky v Roman Arkadievich Abramovich
Decided 31 Augyust 2012
Citation(s) [2012] EWHC 2463 (Comm)
Court membership
Judge(s) sitting Gloster J
Contract, formation, uncertainty

Berezovsky v Abramovich [2012] EWHC 2463 (Comm) is an English contract law case, concerning the formation of a contract, which is informally made, and where evidence is contested.

The case is notable, as it involved two of the Russian oligarchs, and was a direct consequence of the privatization in Russia that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.


Boris Berezovsky, known as one of the "Russian oligarchs" who became rich under the presidency of Boris Yeltsin, claimed that in 1995 he had made a contract with Roman Abramovich. Berezovsky alleged that the agreement was that he would share in half the profits generated by Sibneft, a Russian aluminium company. In 2001, he alleged that he was forced to sell his stake in the company because of threats made by Abramovich, when Vladimir Putin’s government came into power. Abramovich denied any of this was true. The essence of the case was whether there was any credible evidence that an agreement had in fact been made.


Gloster J, in the Commercial Court division of the High Court, held that Berezovsky was not a credible witness, there had never been a certain agreement intended to be enforceable, and there were no threats.


The case was the last where Lord Sumption acted as a barrister. He delayed his appointment to the UK Supreme Court so that he could finish his work on the case. A year later, Berezovsky allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself.

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