Addleshaws leads $1bn Middle East conspiracy battle

Addleshaw Goddard has secured the mandate on one of the biggest cases to be heard in the Commercial Court in 2014, acting in a $1bn conspiracy dispute that involves claimant representation from four top silks.

Partner Mark Hastings, who rose to fame when he represented the late Boris Berezovksy in his mammoth dispute with Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich (31 August 2012), is leading the team, which includes partners Kambiz Larizadeh and David Engel.

Mark Hastings
Mark Hastings

Saudi-based property development company, Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Company (DAAR), and Bahrani-based investment Bank Alkhair BSC have issued claims totalling $1bn against the bank’s former chief executive, a chartered accountant, Kroll Associates and FTI Consulting Group.

It is claimed that the banker, Majid Al Refai, who was dismissed in 2010 after the alleged discovery of money laundering, had conspired with the other defendants to extort money from the claimants.

The defendants are claimed to have threatened to ruin the bank’s commercial relationships by, amongst other things, spreading damaging rumours in meetings with investors and ratings agencies and publishing damaging and untrue allegations about the claimants in an email circulated to analysts, investors and other third parties.

The defendants deny any wrongdoing.

Addleshaws has instructed a heavyweight team of four silks to lead the case. They are Maitland Chambers’ Anthony Trace QC and Jonathan Russen QC, Fountain Court’s Charles Béar QC and 5RB’s Mark Warby QC.

The claimants’ team will face a strong defendant line-up, with Littleton Chambers’ Stuart Ritchie QC, instructed by PCB Litigation partner Steven Philippsohn acting for Al Refai, and Slaughter and May partner Jonathan Cotton instructing One Essex Court’s Craig Orr QC for Kroll Associates UK.

FTI Consulting Group has turned to Stephenson Harwood partner John Fordham with 39 Essex Street’s Richard Spearman QC leading 5RB’s Godwin Busuttil currently instructed.

This is expected to be one of the largest claims in the Commercial Court in 2014, with the trial being split into two phases over two months to break down and address the numerous allegations made.

For the claimants (1) Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Company & (2) Bank Alkhair BSC

Maitland Chambers’ Anthony Trace QC, Fountain Court’s Charles Béar QC and Jonathan Russen QC also of Maitland along with 5RB’s Mark Warby QC, instructed by Addleshaw Goddard partners Mark Hastings, Kambiz Larizadeh and David Engel

For the defendant Al Refai

Littleton Chambers’ Stuart Ritchie QC, instructed by PCB Litigation partner Steven Philippsohn

For the defendants Kroll Associates UK Ltd

One Essex Court’s Craig Orr QC, instructed by Slaughter and May partner Jonathan Cotton

For the defendants FTI Consulting Group Ltd

39 Essex Street’s Richard Spearman QC leading 5RB’s Godwin Busuttil, instructed by Stephenson Harwood partner John Fordham

For more on what is happening in the civil courts, read The Lawyer Top Cases 2014