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Oligarch estate declared insolvent

The estate of the late Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky has been declared insolvent by a High Court judge.

Mr Justice Morgan today made an "insolvency administration order" at a hearing in the High Court in London.

He said the next stage of a bankruptcy process would be a creditors' meeting.

Mr Justice Morgan had been told in April 2014 that the estate was ''most probably insolvent''.

At that stage he had approved a plan for the estate's administration and said accountants Grant Thornton would handle most of the administration.

He had said a plan had been agreed between parties including Grant Thornton, a member of Mr Berezovsky's family and a company which had been embroiled in litigation with him.

Mr Justice Morgan had been told at a hearing in September 2013 that Mr Berezovsky may have left debts of more than £300 million.

The judge was told today by a lawyer representing Grant Thornton that HM Revenue and Customs officials had calculated that the estate had a tax debt of £46 million.

Mr Berezovsky, 67, was found dead at his home in Ascot, Berkshire, in March 2013.

A coroner recorded an open verdict after an inquest last year.

In May 2014 another High Court judge had analysed litigation involving the estate and Mr Berezovsky's former partner Elena Gorbunova.

Ms Gorbunova had become embroiled in a High Court battle with Mr Berezovsky in late 2012 - after complaining that she had not been given millions he had promised.

And Mr Justice Mann had been told - at a High Court hearing in London in May - that following Mr Berezovsky's death Ms Gorbunova had claimed an interest in two French properties.

Mr Justice Mann had heard that ownership of the properties - one a chateau - lay within a ''corporate structure''.

The judge had said it appeared that Mr Berezovsky had not asserted a ''directly-held'' interest but possibly a ''beneficial'' interest as a trustee.

He had heard that an application had been made for permission to sell the properties and lawyers for Ms Gorbunova said an agreement had been reached with some companies involved in the corporate ownership structure.

Ms Gorbunova and Mr Berezovsky had two children and she had been his partner until 2012, Mr Justice Mann had been told.

Mr Berezovsky had lost a multi-billion pound High Court fight with Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich in 2012.

Ms Gorbunova had been at Mr Berezovsky's side throughout much of that battle and had made a witness statement in support of his claim for more than £3 billion damages.

A judge dismissed a series of claims Mr Berezovsky made against Mr Abramovich - and the loss left Mr Berezovsky facing legal bills totalling tens of millions of pounds.

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