London High Court Allows Aeroflot Appeal in Berezovsky Case

MOSCOW, January 16 (RAPSI, Ingrid Burke) – A London court on Thursday upheld Russian airline Aeroflot’s right to appeal a case involving deceased oligarch Boris Berezovsky.

London’s High Court of Justice held that Aeroflot should be allowed to appeal a 2012 summary dismissal of a case it filed in London seeking recognition and enforcement of fraud judgments the airline had previously won against Berezovsky and its former deputy director general Nikolai Glushkov in Russia, according to court documents obtained by RAPSI.

Lady Justice Arden wrote: “In my judgment… this appeal should be allowed. If my Lords agree, that means that there will have to be a trial at which the issues are fully considered.” Lords Justice Kitchin and Toulson agreed.

Berezovsky and Glushkov were convicted of having defrauded Aeroflot in the 1990s. In November 2007, Moscow’s Savelovsky Court convicted Berezovsky of fraud and found him jointly and severally liable with Glushkov to pay Aeroflot over 200 million rubles ($6 million). The judgment took effect in February 2008, after the Moscow City Court dismissed Berezovsky’s appeal.

In 2011, Aeroflot sought an adjustment of the amount awarded, taking inflation into consideration, charging that the original award should be increased to upwards of two billion rubles ($60 million). The Golovinsky Court granted the inflation adjustment in full.

Aeroflot initiated the present proceedings in the UK seeking enforcement of the Russian judgment.

In late 2012, the judge presiding over the case summarily dismissed the claims on the basis of the finality principle, which prevents parties from re-launching disputes except either by way of appeal or as a result of fraud.

Shortly after that verdict, a spokesperson for Aeroflot told RAPSI that the airline was considering the option of an appeal.

Thursday’s judgment notes that summary dismissal cannot be granted unless the court is satisfied that the claim being dismissed would have had no real chance of success.

Lady Justice Arden found that the test for summary dismissal had not been met in the earlier decision, saying: “The court needed to make findings of fact as to whether as a matter of Russian law the second Savelovsky judgment was final and binding under Russian law.  Until that happened the court could not refuse recognition on the ground that the second Golovinsky judgment breached the finality principle.”

Berezovsky died in March 2013.

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