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Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich won the first round of his legal battle Thursday against a US$4.3 billion (€2.7 billion) lawsuit from fellow oligarch Boris Berezovsky.

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich won the first round of his legal battle Thursday against a US$4.3 billion (€2.7 billion) lawsuit from fellow oligarch Boris Berezovsky. 4

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich won the first round of his legal battle Thursday against a US$4.3 billion (€2.7 billion) lawsuit 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 alleges that Abramovich pressured him into selling substantial stakes in the Sibneft oil company and the Rusal aluminum company for less than their market value. Abramovich says the claims are groundless.

The men are former business partners and both now live in London

Abramovich, who owns Chelsea soccer club, has a wealth valued at 11.7 billion pounds (US$23.2 billion; €14.7 billion) by the Sunday Times Rich List.

Berezovsky, a former Kremlin insider whose net worth is estimated to be US$1.1 billion (€700 million) by Forbes magazine, lives in self-imposed exile and is a fierce critic of former Russian president, and now prime minister, Vladimir Putin.

Berezovsky’s legal team said his claim was unaffected by the ruling, saying in a statement that the judgment was made for “purely technical reasons.”

Neither tycoon 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.”

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