Putin ally loses high stakes legal battle over Moscow factory

Putin ally loses high stakes legal battle over Moscow factory

A Vladimir Putin ally who recently faced sanctions in the US and has been targeted by British intelligence, has lost a multi-million pound High Court battle with a rival Russian oligarch following claims he organised an “armed takeover” of a jointly-owned business.

The high stakes legal battle between Oleg Deripaska, an aluminium tycoon, and Vladimir Chernukhin, a former minister for President Putin, was slogged out in the London’s commercial court between more than 40 lawyers.

It centred on the ownership of the Trekhgornaya Manufaktura textile factory in central Moscow, a 22-acre site with valuable development potential, but heard lurid claims of corruption and dirty tricks.

The two oligarchs jointly invested in the business in 2001 but the deal went awry following the 2008 financial crash, said to have badly affected Mr Deripaska, who was head of the aluminium companies EN+ and Rusal until earlier last year.

In 2010, Mr Deripaska, 50, who once had links at the top of British politics, infamously hosting Lord Mandelson and George Osborne on his yacht in 2008, is said to have ordered gangsters to seize control of the factory.

Two days later, his representatives contacted London-based Mr Chernukhin, 49, whose wife is a major donor to the Conservative Party, offering to buy him out.

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