Stemming from the 2008 sale of his megayacht, Russian billionaire and former politician Boris Berezovsky was ordered by a British court yesterday to pay Edmiston & Company a £6-million ($9.3-million) sales commission.
Berezovsky hired the brokerage firm to sell the 110-meter (361-foot) Darius while she was still under construction at Lürssen, due to financial difficulties. According to an article in the Telegraph, Berezovsky’s lawyer, Justice Field, revealed in court that his client “did not have the ready means to pay the shipbuilding contract installments as they fell due, and if he failed to pay any of them by the due date, he stood to lose at least a substantial part of his investment in the yacht.” Selling the superyacht would secure the €118 million (about $153.5 million) Berezovsky had already spent, Field stated.
Nicholas Edmiston, founder of Edmiston & Company, marketed and attempted to sell the yacht to a few interested parties before Darius finally sold to the Al Futtaim family of the United Arab Emirates in October 2008. Despite that, Berezovsky disputed his right to the sales commission. In court, Field stated that Merle Wood, president of Merle Wood & Associates, made introductions between Edmiston & Company and the Al Futtaim family’s captain, and therefore Edmiston should not be paid. Berezovsky himself reported told the court that Edmiston & Company hadn’t been an “effective cause” of the sale. The judge ruled against the arguments, stating that it is a broker’s duty to tap his or her network of contacts. While Wood’s role was “an extremely valuable one,” the judge said, Edmiston still displayed “considerable skill and expertise” in reaching out to his network.
Darius, now known as Radiant, was delivered to the Al Futtaim family earlier this year.