London's High Court to hear forum dispute in Baturina real estate claim
MOSCOW, July 30 (RAPSI) - London’s High Court will consider a forum dispute Wednesday in a claim filed by Russian billionaire Elena Baturina against RusPetro CEO Alexander Chistyakov, RAPSI learned from Paul Hastings LLP Partner Michelle Duncan, who is representing Baturina in the case.
Baturina initiated proceedings in the High Court in January. Claiming deceit and breach of contract in connection with a Moroccan real estate project, Baturina is seeking damages amounting to upwards of EUR 100 million.
According to Duncan, “The English proceedings concern an agreement between my client, Elena Baturina and the defendant, Alexander Chistyakov to jointly develop the Moroccan real estate project.”
Challenging the propriety of the chosen forum, Chistyakov has sought to stay or dismiss the proceedings. The court is set to consider that application Wednesday.
In November 2012, Inteco Beteiligungs – a company owned by Baturina – sued Sylmord Trade Inc. – a company owned by Chistyakov – in the British Virgin Islands. That case arose from the same factual issues, according to Duncan – but centered on loans Inteco made to Sylmord toward the contested real estate project. In that case, Inteco obtained a default judgment against Sylmord in the BVI in January 2013. Chistyakov’s appeal of the case is set to be heard in September 2013.
Efforts by Chistyakov to set aside the judgment proved unsuccessful in May 2013. According to that judgment, Inteco had sought the repayment of seven loans it had made to Sylmord amounting to approximately EUR 3.7 million, and EUR 700,000 in interest. The loans were made between February 2010 and July 2011 in connection with a joint venture for a hotel development in Morocco.
The judgment explained the facts underlying the deal as follows: “Sylmord was the vehicle through which [Chistyakov] and associates of his were to participate in the venture, contributing 35% of its costs in return for a 35% stake. [Baturina] was to contribute the remaining 65% in return for a corresponding share. The intention was that these should take the form of holdings in a Morocco-incorporated joint venture vehicle which would hold the development itself. Such a company was indeed incorporated, although it is unclear from the papers exactly when that happened.”
RAPSI has not yet obtained a comment Chistyakov’s side.