Novoship obtains Commercial Court judgment

Novoship (part of Sovcomflot Group) has obtained a Commercial Court judgment of approx. US$169m.

Mr Justice Christopher Clarke, sitting in the Commercial Court in London, gave judgment today in the case of Novoship (UK) Limited and Others v Vladimir Mikhaylyuk and Others. Included among the other defendants were Venezuelan businessman, Wilmer Ruperti and Russian businessman, Yuri Nikitin and his company Henriot Finance.

The claimants, who were represented by Ince & Co, claimed that all the defendants had, by various means, defrauded the claimants in the context of various chartering contracts.

As far as Yuri Nikitin was concerned, the claimants claimed that he had dishonestly assisted Mr Mikhaylyuk, an ex-employee of Novoship UK, to breach the fiduciary duties he owed to the owners of vessels in the Novoship fleet that had been chartered to Henriot Finance and that had made profits in excess of US$100m from chartering those ships.

Among other things, the claimants claimed that Henriot Finance should account to them in respect of those profits. Similar allegations were made in relation to Mr Ruperti’s relationship with Mr Mikhaylyuk and profits of approximately US$57 million were claimed as a consequence.

In a judgment extending to 146 pages the judge accepted the claimants’ claims against all the defendants giving judgment in favour of the claimants in a total sum of approximately US$169m, plus interest. In doing so, he observed that: ‘The English Courts have steadfastly set their face against bribery and corruption, whose prevalence in cases coming before this court shows no sign of reducing, and have, for that purpose, fashioned draconian remedies whose intended effect is to deprive those who are party to bribery, whether as briber or beneficiary of the bribe, of any profit from transactions which its taint pollutes… .’

The Ince team representing the claimants included partners Michelle Linderman, Ben Ogden, Stuart Shepherd and Rebecca Axe.