The British High Court has this week deferred a decision on whether Israeli
oligarch Michael Cherney should appear in the London court in a case involving
Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
Cherney, originally from Uzbekistan, now
living in Israel, is suing Deripaska over a disputed shareholding stake in
Rusal, the world’s largest aluminium company.
However, following a
European arrest warrant issued by Spain in 2009 – Spanish authorities are
investigating alleged money laundering by several oligarchs who worked as
partners in Russian metallurgic industry, among them Deripaska and Cherney –
hence Cherney will not travel to the UK while his legal team is preparing an
application to the European Union Court of Human Rights contesting the Spanish
A spokesman for Cherney said the Spanish authority’s
allegations him are “completely baseless” and ignored a ruling by a Swiss court
“These allegations were investigated by the Swiss prosecution
for 11 years and ended in the absolute exoneration of Mr Cherney. In 2010, the
Swiss Federal Court awarded a record compensation to Mr Cherney for moral damage
caused by that investigation and covered his legal fees,” the spokesman
Cherney’s spokesman accused the Spanish authorities of succumbing
to behind-the-scenes political pressure from Moscow, as “the Spanish prosecution
gave preferential treatment to Deripaska, an oligarch known to be favoured by
“Spanish investigators agreed to travel to Moscow to give a
VIP interrogation to Oleg Deripaska, but have issued an arrest warrant against
Michael Cherney and they refuse to travel to Tel Aviv to question Mr Cherney,
who is eager to answer their questions and dispel all suspicions,” he
Cherney’s spokesman said that pretext behind the issuing of an
arrest warrant against Cherney is that the Spanish prosecution do not know his
“It is a ridiculous pretext, because his address in
Israel is publicly open information. In particular this address is listed for
the last four years in his lawsuit against Deripaska in UK High Court,” he
On Monday, the High Court decided that further evidence was needed
on whether Cherney should be permitted to give evidence by video link from
Israel rather than appear in person in the London court.
hearing on this issue is expected to take place in July.
The case was
originally brought to the High Court in London by Cherney in
Cherney claims he is owed 20 percent of Deripaska’s shareholding in
Deripaska, who paid Cherney $250 million as part of the agreement,
vehemently rejects the claim.
In 2007, the court ruled that it had no
jurisdiction in the case as Deripaska was not a British citizen. However, the
following year, the court said that although Russia was the “natural forum,” the
case should be held in the UK because of “risks inherent in a trial in
Deripaska is calling for the case to take place in
“Russia, not England, is the natural forum for this case,” a
spokesman for Deripaska said on Tuesday. “Cherney obtained permission to bring
his claim in the English courts, asserting that while he feared arrest in
Russia, he could “come to England without difficulty” to give his evidence. Now
Cherney says he cannot come to England to give his evidence because he fears
arrest here too.”
Last month, Cherney lost personal jurisdiction in the
US in a case involving Alexander Gliklad, a Ukrainian-born Israeli citizen
living in New York, whom he accuses of owing $270m. over a 2003 signed agreement
for a stake in the Russian coal-producing organization Kuzbassrazrezugol, a
former state enterprise privatized in the early 1990s.
The Supreme Court
of New York now has jurisdiction over the case.