Boris Berezovsky may have owed £100m to HMRC

Deceased Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky may have owed the taxman £100m, The Times has reported.

Accountants Grant Thornton that are investigating the tycoon’s wealth, told the High Court yesterday that Berezovsky’s assets aren’t enough to pay of his debts.

However, the lawyers for his family claim that the accountants haven’t identified all his assets.

“The work simply hasn’t been done,” Henry Legge, QC, a barrister for Berezovsky’s former partner, Helena Gorbunova, told the court.

The tycoon was found dead in a bathroom at his former wife’s home near Ascot in March, with initial investigations suggesting he had hanged himself. He is known to have been heartbroken after losing a £4bn lawsuit against Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich.

Berezovsky made his fortune by buying up Russian state assets in the nineties and fled to the UK after falling out with Russian leader Vladimin Putin.

Berezovsky’s will, written just nine days before his death, appointed five executors. But after none of them came forward to control the estate, the court appointed Grant Thornton.

Stephen Atherton, QC, the receivers’ barrister, told the court that apart from the insolvent estate, the tycoon’s creditors include former wife Galina Besharova, who is said to have loaned him £3.2m. Another claim heard during the hearing was from the Revenue & Customs and said that Berezovsky “may not have been entirely straightforward about his tax affairs”.

Berezovsky’s eldest daughter Ekaterina is now taking control of the estate.

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