A major lawsuit over claims of bankruptcy by a financier with close ties to Vladimir Putin is in an “erratic state” after two Irish law firms said they wanted to withdraw. withdrew from representing the Russian defendants.
His protracted case involved claims that billionaire Dmitri Mazepin had led a conspiracy to defraud 4 companies with their 2 billion euro profits in Togliattiazot (ToAZ), a Russian ammonia producer that he are minority shareholders.
The case is being heard in Ireland because one of the defendants, Eurotoaz Ltd, is registered in Dublin.
Mr Mazepin was added to the EU’s sanctions list last week for the invasion of Ukraine.
The listing describes the businessman as “a member of the closest circle” to the Russian president. His son, Formula One driver Nikita Mazepin, has also been fired by the Haas team.
The Commercial Court heard that both William Fry, representing Mr. Mazepin, and Arthur Cox, representing the other defendants, wanted to withdraw.
Justice Denis McDonald has suspended directing the case until next month due to what he describes as “strange”, “unprecedented” and “quite unusual circumstances”.
Declan McGrath SC, representing Mr. Mazepin, said his guidance attorneys had reviewed all of the company’s Russian clients.
“They are reducing all existing missions to their existing obligations and will not accept any new missions from entities connected to the current Russian regime,” he said.
“These are very unusual situations. I think is unprecedented in this jurisdiction.”
Mr McGrath said he could not say if the court-ordered deadline could be met in the case because “there is a very good chance there is a change in the representation of the defendants”.
“All I can say to the court at the moment is that matters are in a state of flux,” he said.
The lawsuit, which has been going on since 2016, is being filed by four companies, Trafalgar Developments, Instantania Holdings, Kamara and Bairiki Inc, all registered in the Caribbean.
Mr. Mazepin is one of the 13 defendants. In addition to representing the tycoon, William Fry also worked for United Chemical Company Uralchem, Uralchem Holding Plc and a Russian lawyer.
Paul Gardiner SC, representing Eurotoaz Ltd and one of its directors, said his guidance attorney Arthur Cox had informed his client that they would be withdrawing from representing them.
This has been accepted by the customers, he said.
In this action, the plaintiffs allege they were the victims of a conspiracy involving so-called “raider attacks”.
These involve crooks purchasing a minority stake and then using illegal and dishonest means, including improper criminal and civil lawsuits, to devalue and gain control of the company.
The allegations were denied.
The Bar Association has opened an online hub to advise lawyers on how to respond to EU sanctions against Russia and Belarus.
It said lawyers should make compliance with sanctions a “top priority”. The society has told lawyers that failure to comply is a criminal offense, carries a fine of up to 500,000 euros, and failure to do so could also lead to serious reputational damage.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/major-2bn-law-suit-in-flux-as-dublin-lawyers-seek-to-drop-russian-clients-41445988.html Large €2 billion lawsuit ‘keeps going’ as Dublin lawyers seek to get rid of Russian client