LONDON – The High Court in London began hearing evidence last week in a
£2.3-billion battle between Israeli tycoon Michael Cherney and Russian oligarch
The case is about a dispute over a shareholding stake in
Rusal, the world’s largest aluminium company.
Cherney, who was born in
Uzbekistan but now lives in Israel, says he is owed 20 percent of Deripaska’s
shares in Rusal after allegedly agreeing to buy his share in the
Deripaska, who paid Cherney $250 million as part of an
agreement, “vehemently” rejects the claim.
He claims that Cherney was
never a business partner and that he imposed “krysha” on him – a Russian term
for extortion protection rackets that were prevalent in post-Soviet
The Russian oligarch says he only paid Cherney the $250 million
as protection money, not as a partial payment for a buyout of the shares Cherney
alleges he held in the company.
Last year, the High Court ruled that
Cherney can give evidence via video link to the London court while a Spanish
arrest warrant exists against him.
In 2009, Spain issued a European
arrest warrant against him on alleged money-laundering charges.
accused Spain of “politically motivated behavior” and said he was applying to
the European Court of Human Rights to contest the charges.
which is expected to last a year, will first need to establish whether Deripaska
is liable toward Cherney. Only if he is successful will the amount of this claim