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RPC is preparing to bring a multi-million pound claim for Indian businessman Manmohan Varma against Britain’s richest man, Lakshmi Mittal, on a conditional fee arrangement (CFA).
The dispute between Varma and the ArcelorMittal CEO is set to be one of the biggest cases to hit the courts next year, with a two-week trial set down for March 2013 in the Commercial Court.
The case demonstrates firms’ continued willingness to act on CFAs. Addleshaw Goddard represented Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky in his $5bn claim against Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich on a structured CFA (8 November 2010), eventually losing the case but billing its client £50m (22 October 2012).
Varma launched the claim against Mittal in 2011. He claims that Mittal reneged on an agreement to pay fees to Varma for helping secure a $115m investment in an oil deal with a former Nigerian president.
Mittal denies that the contract was ever made and that Varma had not played a causative role in brokering the deal.
RPC partner Tim Brown has instructed 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square’s Robert Griffiths QC and Anthony Dearing for Varma. Mittal is represented by Peters & Peters partner Jonathan Tickner, who has instructed 3 Verulam Buildings’ Paul Lowenstein QC and Serle Court’s David Drake.