(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
LONDON – The British High Court has dismissed a case in which Michael Cherney,
the Russian-born oligarch now living in Israel, accused his former lawyers of
negligence and a breach of duty and trust.
Cherney began proceedings in
2008 against his former solicitors, Pettman Smith, which since merged with
London law firm Child and Child, and four other business partners, including
American businessman Frank Neuman, over property deals done in London between
2004 and 2008.
The Israeli billionaire said that Neuman had reneged on
business arrangements in which Cherney would acquire prime real estate in the UK
with the American businessman taking legal possession of the
Cherney accused Neuman of selling the properties without his
consent, though he repaid the amount Cherney paid for the property, and keeping
the profits, said to be around $10 million.
Last year, they agreed on a
settlement shortly before the High Court was to rule on cross applications for
On Friday the High Court dismissed all claims against the
lawyers and their claim against Neuman.
“I believe that I have now dealt
with all of the claims against the firm,” Justice Henderson, who presided over
the case, said in his judgement. “For the reasons which I have given, I hold
that each claim fails. It follows that the action against the Firm must be
“It also follows that the firm’s claim against Mr. Neuman must
be dismissed, because the firm has not been held liable in respect of any damage
suffered by the claimants,” he added.
In another case involving Russian
oligarch Oleg Deripaska, the High Court ruled last month that Cherney would be
able to give evidence to the London court via video link. This follows a Spanish
arrest warrant issued against him in 2009 on alleged money-laundering
Cherney has accused Spain of “politically motivated behavior”
and said he is applying to the European Court of Human Rights to contest the
Also last month – in a case involving Alexander Gliklad, a
Ukrainian-born Israeli living in New York, and a disputed $270 million – the New
York Supreme Court granted Gliklad an antisuit injunction barring Cherney from
prosecuting the case in Israel.
“Allowing Mr. Cherney to prosecute in
Israel would result in a serious waste of the court’s scarce resources and time.
Cherney has proceeded in a way that is not conducive to the timely
resolution of this case. A parallel lawsuit in Israel would result in
duplicative litigation and may interfere with the court’s adequately enforcing
this jurisdiction’s policies and resolving the issues before it,” the judge
presiding over the case said.