Berezovsky’s Ex-Girlfriend Wins French House Asset FreezeJeremy Hodges
Boris Berezovsky’s ex-girlfriend won an asset-freezing order against him that covers two luxury French properties and her share of a lawsuit settlement, after he failed to keep promises made to her.
Helena Gorbunova, Berezovsky’s long-term girlfriend until last year, originally won the order in December after she said she was promised money from the sale of an estate in Surrey, England, worth 25 million pounds ($39.6 million), according to a ruling handed down by Judge George Mann on Jan. 18 and made public yesterday.
“Mr. Berezovsky is a man under financial pressure,” Mann said in his written ruling. “It is likely that he will feel a more pressing need to satisfy creditors than satisfy Ms. Gorbunova.”
A friend of former Russian president Boris Yeltsin, Berezovsky has been entwined in numerous high profile U.K. court cases in the last 18 months. In August he lost one of the largest civil suits ever in U.K. courts to Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea Football Club. Following the trial he was ordered to pay 35 million pounds in fees to his former ally by a London judge who criticized him for being “unimpressive, and inherently unreliable.”
While the original order froze as much as 200 million pounds of Berezovsky’s assets, Mann removed that figure in his ruling after a private hearing. Bound into the order are any proceeds from the sale of two properties in the south of France and a share of the settlement Berezovsky won from his litigation against the estate of his former business partner Badri Patarkatsishvili.
Mark Hastings, a lawyer acting for Berezovsky, declined to comment. A lawyer for Gorbunova didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail and call requesting comment.