Abramovich Wins 'Minor Skirmish'

LONDON — Billionaire Roman Abramovich won the first round of his battle Thursday against a $4.3 billion suit from fellow oligarch Boris Berezovsky.

A judge in London ruled that Berezovsky could not add charges of unlawful intimidation and unlawful threats to his claim against Abramovich.

Berezovsky says Abramovich pressured him into selling stakes in oil firm Sibneft and aluminum company RusAl for less than their market value. Abramovich calls the claims groundless.

The former business partners both now live in London. Abramovich, who owns the Chelsea football club, has a wealth valued at ?11.7 billion ($23.2 billion) by the Sunday Times Rich List. Berezovsky, a former Kremlin insider whose net worth is estimated to be $1.1 billion by Forbes, lives in self-imposed exile and is a vocal critic of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Neither man was in court for Thursday's hearing, described by Judge David Mackie as a "first and minor skirmish, with a relatively inconclusive outcome, in what is potentially a very large case."