Berezovsky Estate May Owe as Much as $482 Million, Lawyer Says

The estate of Boris Berezovsky, who died in March, may be in debt by as much as 309 million pounds ($482.2 million), a lawyer said.

The debts could include 720 million rubles ($21.5 million) to OAO Aeroflot, 100 million pounds to U.K. tax authorities and a 3 million pound claim from the son of former Kyrgyzstan leader Kurmanbek Bakiyev, Philip Marshall, a lawyer for the Moscow-based airline, said at a hearing today.

“The information from the receivers points to insolvency,” Judge Paul Morgan said at the hearing.

An autopsy found that Berezovsky died from hanging with no evidence of a violent struggle, according to London police. Once a multibillionaire, he faced mounting debt. He lost one of the largest U.K. civil lawsuits ever filed against Roman Abramovich, the Russian owner of the Chelsea Football Club, last year. Berezovsky was “unimpressive and inherently unreliable,” the judge said in her ruling in August.

Berezovsky’s daughter, who asked the court today to make her interim administrator of her father’s estate, doesn’t agree that he was bankrupt, her lawyer, Anthony Trace, said.

“You say it is overwhelmingly likely this is insolvency, we say the reverse,” said Trace, Ekaterina Berezovskaya’s lawyer. “Your lordship cannot make a judgment one way or another whether the estate is insolvent.”

If Berezovskaya’s application is successful, she will replace Grant Thornton LLP as receiver on an interim basis, Trace said.

A call to Grant Thornton’s press office wasn’t immediately returned.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy Hodges in London at jhodges17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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