Mr Rothschild, 40, a financial adviser to Mr Deripaska, has launched a libel action against the Daily Mail over a 2010 article which he claimed painted him as a ‘puppet-master’ who had exploited his personal friendship with the former Labour spin doctor to impress the oligarch.
The hedge fund manager denied the Siberia trip was ‘inappropriate’, despite it including a visit to Mr Deripaska’s aluminium factory ahead of a European Commission decision on aluminium imports to Europe.
He told the High Court: ‘The whole point of the Siberia trip was that we went there, we spent a nano-second at this smelter, we then went to the most delightful banya [a traditional Russian steam bath] where we were beaten by a 25-year-old banya-keeper man who has spent his life perfecting the art of the banya.
‘Then we jumped into ice-cold water. It’s the best way in the world to cure jetlag and everything else. It was incredibly enjoyable.’
Mr Rothschild said he invited Lord Mandelson to join the trip because he was a close personal friend and he knew he had never visited Siberia….
‘Deripaska was my friend, Mandelson was my friend, this was a recreational trip. Deripaska’s desire to develop a relationship with Mandelson was because Mandelson was an interesting, highly intelligent, fantastic guy.’
Of course! Everyone should visit Siberia to be “beaten by a 25-year-old banya-keeper man”. No impropriety there. Sexual impropriety I mean. Dodgy business dealings I couldn’t take a view on.