Russian billionaire back in London court
Billionaire Oleg Deripaska appeared in a London court for the second time this year on Thursday, trading barbs about a fellow businessman’s lack of influence.
The prominent oligarch, who has been battling US sanctions since earlier this year, was giving evidence in a dispute over a valuable piece of land in central Moscow. The billionaire brought the case against Vladimir Chernukhin, an ally of the former Russian prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov.
“I don’t want to downgrade your client,” Mr Deripaska told Mr Chernukhin’s lawyer. “His career was totally developed by his boss.”
The attorney, Jonathan Crow, argued that Mr Deripaska chose to deal with Mr Chernukhin when they agreed to jointly invest in the factory site, rather than Mr Chernukhin’s former partner, Lolita Danilina.
Mr Crow said that Ms Danilina had little if any influence and did not appear on a list ranking the top Russian business leaders. The billionaire drew laughter in his response when he pointed out that this was a list solely for men.
Mr Chernukhin left Russia for the UK in 2004.“It’s laughable to describe him as a tycoon,” Mr Deripaska said about Mr Chernukhin.
Mr Deripaska said that some Russian oligarchs had staying power. “I saw your list,” he told Mr Crow. “Who was the real person on this list? Who still sits on the list?”
It was the big oligarchs with large private businesses, like Roman Abramovich, who are “still all there”, he said.
It was Mr Deripaska’s second London High Court appearance this year after he fought a lawsuit in May against fellow billionaire Vladimir Potanin over control of Russia’s largest mining company.