The rise and fall and exile of Boris Berezovsky is like a great tale from Russian literature, full of both charm and treachery.
Once a mathematics professor in the Soviet era, earning a pittance, he became one of the richest men in the world, a flamboyant billionaire who helped put two presidents in the Kremlin. He became the enemy of one of them and was forced into exile.
He lived in a world of limousines and private jets, penthouses and country estates, bodyguards and lawyers – but the details of his life were laid bare in a court room in London two years ago, when Berezovsky sued his former friend, Roman Abramovich, for breach of trust and breach of contract.
Berezovsky claimed that Mr Abramovich, now the owner of Chelsea Football Club, had failed to pay him what he was owed for a deal they allegedly made together in the ruins of the Soviet empire.
“I trusted him. I believed he was like my son,” said Berezovsky in court, a short, combative man looking like a dapper Danny DeVito in a blue suit and open-necked white shirt. “He betrayed me.”
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