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Results of the seminar on asset recovery strategies in England, Switzerland, Cyprus and BVI

News date: 13 December 2013

On December 10, Ilyashev & Partners and their peers at Hogan Lovells hosted a joint seminar entitled “International Litigation: Asset-Recovery Strategies in England, Switzerland, Cyprus and BVI”. The seminar dealt ways of bringing Ukrainian and Ukraine-related disputes to the English courts – a topic somehow unusual, but still very relevant.

Regrettably, Ukrainian courts are no good choice in cases where a dispute involves substantial assets in multiple jurisdictions. Although proceedings in Ukraine are relatively fast, the weaponry of interim measures and levers available to Ukrainian courts is desperately insufficient.

That is why Ukrainian companies are increasingly seeking effective justice with the English courts. The 6-billion BTA Bank v. Mukhtar Ablyazov case in which both companies hosting the seminar were retained by the plaintiff has demonstrated that the English courts have enough power both to use a wide range of interim measures – from freezing injunctions and disclosure orders to search warrants and receivership orders – and to enforce them under the threat of imprisonment for all those who try acts in contempt of court. Indeed, Mukhtar Ablyazov himself, currently arrested and put in jail in France, as defendant was ordered 22 month in prison for contempt of court.

As the advantages of litigating in England are obvious, it is expected that major Ukrainian players will continue to litigate in London.

Roman Marchenko, Senior Partner at Ilyashev & Partners, however, has highlighted some key points of concern for Ukrainian parties in English courts:

– Disclosure of information and documents to the extent far exceeding the ordinary scope of disclosure in Ukrainian courts;

– Legal costs, including significant attorneys’ fees, may be imposed on the losing party;

– The court may require the claimant to provide security for costs, covering the amount which may be awarded to respondent in case the claim fails. If the security is not provided, the claim may be dismissed.

“There is something symbolic in that this seminar, which if fact invites the litigants to seek justice in England, was hosted by Ilyashev & Partners, a law firm recognized as the best legal practice in Ukraine. There seems to be something common in what protesters in the Independence Square and lawyers here at the luxurious Hyatt Regency want. It is the drive for fair and effective justice. Once a Ukrainian court orders 22 months in prison for a billionaire tycoon, clients will rush back to Ukraine and start saving on their English counsel. Once an order issued by Ukrainian court proves sufficient to search the registered office of an offshore company in Cyprus or have the Registrar of Companies in the BVI disclose information about beneficial owners, there will be the end of Ukrainian litigants in the English courts. So far, however, the system works in London and not in Kyiv”, Mr. Marchenko said.

For more information on the seminar please contact Ilyashev & Partners’ Rita Rosen at rosen@attorneys.ua or call +380 (50) 353 16 41.

Hosting firms:

Ilyashev & Partners and Hogan Lovells. The law firms have worked together on BTA Bank case, the largest fraud case with a value of billions of Euros involving BTA’s former Chairman of the Board of Directors Mukhtar Ablyazov. For the brilliant job they have done, Hogan Lovells was named the Litigation Team of the Year in the U.K. and Ilyashev & Partners was named the Litigation Team of the Year in Ukraine. According to the Yurydychna Praktyka legal edition, Ilyashev & Partners have carried on 24 of 50 major cases in Ukraine.