Israeli industrialist can testify via video, UK court says

By JONNY PAUL JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
July 27, 2011 04:14

Michael Cherney will be allowed to give testimony to British High Court via video link rather than face arrest by traveling to the UK.

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MICHAEL CHERNEY

MICHAEL CHERNEY 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

LONDON – The British High Court ruled on Tuesday that an Israeli tycoon can give evidence via video link to the London court while a Spanish arrest warrant exists against him.

In 2009, Spain issued a European arrest warrant against Michael Cherney, originally from Uzbekistan but now living in Israel, on money laundering charges.

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C
herney has accused Spain of “politically motivated behavior” and said he is applying to the European Court of Human Rights to contest the charges.

The London case involves Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska and a dispute over a shareholding stake in Rusal, the world’s largest aluminium company.

Cherney says he is owed 20 percent of Deripaska’s shares in Rusal. Deripaska, who paid Cherney $250 million as part of an agreement, rejects the claim.

“Michael Cherney is satisfied with today's court decision.

His ability to testify via videoconference is essential for the truth to be revealed and [for] justice being done in this case,” a representative of Cherney said.

“Mr. Cherney has been subjected to what he sees as politically motivated behavior by Spanish investigators, and he is grateful for the UK court's refusal to allow justice to be impeded by denying him the right to give evidence at the trial of his case against Mr. Deripaska.”

“Russia, not Britain, is the natural forum for this case.

Mr. Cherney obtained permission to bring his claim in the British courts, because while he said he feared arrest in Russia, he could ‘come to Britain without difficulty’ to give his evidence,” a spokesman for Deripaska said.

“Now he says he cannot come to the UK to give his evidence, because he fears arrest here, too. He is willing to say one thing for purposes of persuading the courts to hear his case but something else when it actually comes to giving evidence. Mr. Deripaska remains confident that Mr. Cherney’s claim will ultimately be rejected by the courts.”

The case is set to be heard at the High Court early next year.


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