It was a modern-day clash of the Titans – two of the richest men in the world locking horns in a bitter row over their huge egos and even bigger fortunes.
Shoppers in London’s exclusive Sloane Street watched in amazement as Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich and his deadliest business rival Boris Berezovsky played out a scene more reminiscent of a gangster movie.
Berezovsky, a one-time business partner of Abramovich in three major Russian companies, had been trying for six months to serve a £5 billion writ on him – and yesterday he finally got his chance.
Flanked by three bodyguards, Berezovsky – who was granted political asylum in Britain four years ago after fleeing Russia in the face of embezzlement charges – had been shopping in the designer store Dolce & Gabbana.
And as he was leaving, he spotted his sworn enemy in the Hermes store two doors away.
Berezovsky, 61, immediately ordered one of his burly bodyguards to fetch the writ from his £300,000 Maybach limousine parked nearby.
But as he tried to enter the shop with the document, his path was blocked by Abramovich’s three SAS-trained security men.
As a scuffle ensued between the two sets of rival bodyguards, Berezovsky forced open the door and barged his way in to confront an ashen-faced Abramovich.
When he tried to thrust the writ into his hands, 41-year-old Abramovich pulled his arms back and the papers fell to the floor.
One astonished onlooker heard Berezovsky declare: “I’ve got a present for you. This is for you, from me.”