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A raft of firms are due in the High Court today after Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan applied to adjourn a $2.7bn case on behalf of its client, following the arrest of a key defendant in Russia.
Quinn’s application to adjourn is supported by Oleg Mkrtchan’s lawyers at Covington & Burling after his arrest on 8 February in Moscow and it could now see the case pushed back to the next available date in June 2020.
At present, the case is set to be heard in the Commercial Court in October for a duration of four weeks. This application is thought only to be for six months but the court’s crowded schedule means that next summer is the only available date.
Quinn partner Nick Marsh is leading for Vitaly Haiduk and Avonwick Holdings, instructing Brick Court Chambers’ Neil Calver QC, Stephen Midwinter QC, Edward Ho and Ben Woolgar.
Covington & Burling partners Craig Pollack and Greg Lascelles are acting for Oleg Mkrtchan and his Azitio Holdings business, instructing One Essex Court’s David Wolkson QC, Sebastian Isaac and Henry Hoskins.
Hogan Lovells partner Michael Roberts is acting for Sergiy Taruta and Dargamo Holdings, instructing Essex Court Chambers’ David Foxton QC, Nathan Pillow QC, Louise Hutton, Siddarth Dhar and Anton Dudnikov.
Baker McKenzie partner Hugh Lyons is acting for Prandicle Limited which is facing additional claims, instructing Erskine Chambers’ Stephen Smith QC and 3 Verulam Buildings’ Peter Ratcliffe.
The case is one of The Lawyer‘s Top 20 cases of 2019 and centres on the sale of a 33 per cent stake in Ukrainian corporation the Industrial Union of Donbass (IUD) with total legal fees for this one-day adjournment hearing thought to be reaching nearly £1m.
IUD was founded in 2002 by Mkrtchan, Taruta and Haiduk.
Upon the sale of 50 per cent of the business in 2010, Haiduk agreed to sell his stake in the business but claimed that the sum received was significantly undervalued after being handed $750m after completion.
Allegations against Mkrtchan and Taruta suggested they boosted that figure by each selling 8.5 per cent stakes to the Swiss-based Carbofer Group, totaling 50 per cent of the business overall including Haiduk’s 33 per cent, for $2.7bn in what was the biggest corporate deal in Ukrainian history.
Avonwick believes that it is entitled to two-thirds of that sum which could see it awarded as much $1.8bn should the case go in its favour.
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