On 2 May 2017 the Commercial Court ruled in favour of Hughmans’s client, Mr Khrapunov, on a significant interlocutory application.
The case involves worldwide freezing orders made on the application of JSC BTA Bank against Mr Ablyazov, against whom the Bank have obtained default judgments of over £4.6bn after he left the jurisdiction and was found in contempt of court, for breaching freezing and disclosure orders that had been made against him. The Bank allege that Mr Khrapunov has assisted Mr Ablyazov in dealing with Mr Ablyazov’s assets in breach of the freezing injunctions. Mr Khrapunov has made an application to discharge the freezing injunction made against him, on the grounds that the Bank is guilty of systematically misleading the Court, including in relation to its recovery of assets in Russia. Since the application was issued, the Bank has been found by the Court of Appeal to have misled the Court in relation to the existence of criminal proceedings in Ukraine. Mr Khrapunov applied to expand the remit of the application to set aside to add that, and other allegations of misconduct by the Bank, including the arrest and mistreatment of a witness in Russia and misleading the Court in connection with the obtaining of a Norwich Pharmacal order. The Bank argued that he should not be permitted to expand the scope of the set aside application with matters that they argued were irrelevant.
The Court held that the new allegations should be included in the application. The allegations are of sufficient concern that they should be considered by the Court hearing the full application. The Bank would have the opportunity to respond to the expanded set aside application which would be set down for a two-day hearing. Counsel was Charles Samek QC and Marc Delehanty of Littleton Chambers.