Berezovsky withdraws raft of chancery claims

Addleshaw Goddard has been left with a slimmed-down legal fight for Boris Berezovsky in the Chancery Court after the billionaire withdrew a raft of his claims against his opponents.

A statement from the firm today said Berezovsky had withdrawn claims against the Arkady ‘Badri’ Patarkatsishvili estate without admission of liability of any of the parties. The statement continued: “The terms of the settlement are confidential and no further comment will be made.

“Following the withdrawal of proceedings between Mr Berezovsky and the Patarkatsishvili Family, Mr Berezovsky confirms that he has no claim to any interest in any of the assets currently managed by [investment company] Salford Capital Partners.”

The firm is continuing to act in a further $2bn claim being brought by Berezovsky next month against a former shareholder of metal investment company Metalloinvest, Vasiliy Anisimov.

Addleshaws said: “We continue to consider and discuss with Mr Berezovsky the complex issues involved in his claim against Roman Abramovich, and also his $2bn claim due to be heard shortly in the chancery division in connection with Mr Berezovsky’s interest in Metalloinvest. We have no plans to comment further on those matters.”

Last month (31 August) Mrs Justice Gloster threw out a $5.6bn claim launched by Berezovksy against Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich in the Commercial Court (31 August 2012). The case centred on allegations that Abramovich coerced him into selling his 21.5 per cent share in Russian oil company Sibneft at a significantly reduced price and that the defendant had broken promises over a deal involving Russian aluminium company RusAl.

Berezovsky had instructed One Essex Court’s Laurance Rabinowitz QC in the commercial proceedings but turned to Brick Court’s Mark Hapgood QC for the chancery trial (30 January 2012).

The two cases were intrinsically linked. Berezovsky alleged that he and Patarkatsishvili, once Georgia’ s richest man, created two oral contracts with Abramovich in 1995 and 1996 on the ownership of oil giant Sibneft. Abramovich, he claimed, had later forced him to sell his Sibneft shareholding at a reduced price.

The chancery dispute revolved around allegations made by Berezovsky that a significant proportion of assets and funds worth between $2bn and $3bn (£1.3bn and £1.9bn) held by the Patarkatsishvili estate, or a large number of trusts and funds set up by Patarkatsishvili, as well as assets held by Anisimov, are in fact part-owned by Berezovsky.

Patarkatsishvili has been represented throughout the proceedings by Graham Huntley, who quit Hogan Lovells in March to launch litigation boutique Signature Litigation. Serle Court’s Jonathan Adkin was instructed as lead counsel in the Commercial Court case, but Michael Brindle QC of Fountain Court was instructed in the chancery proceedings.

The Salford Investment Company was represented throughout by Macfarlanes partner Iain Mackie who brought in Brick Court Chambers’ Alan Maclean QC to lead the chancery defence, leading Maitland Chambers’ David Mumford, who has worked on the matter since the claim was launched.