(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Supreme Court of New York is set to rule in the coming months on whether it
has jurisdiction in a case involving two Israeli oligarchs and a disputed $270
Michael Cherney, originally from Uzbekistan and now living in
Israel, is accused by Alexander Gliklad, a Ukrainian-born Israeli living in New
York, of owing the money in a dispute over a 2003 signed agreement for a stake
in Russian coal-producing organization Kuzbassrazrezugol, a former state
enterprise privatized in the early 1990s.
Cherney, who last week was
implicated in the possible indictment charges being prepared against Foreign
Minister Avigdor Lieberman, had opened a counter suit in Israel demanding back
the agreement note. This led to Gliklad’s lawyer issuing a contempt of court
application stating that Cherney acted contrary to the New York Court
Both parties have now agreed to put the case in Israel on hold
until jurisdiction is ruled on in New York.
Cherney’s lawyer, David
Bamberger from the New York law firm Brickman and Bamberger, maintains that his
client gave Gliklad the money, and that he is owed the money. He also said that
Cherney mistakenly signed a promissory note in the wrong place and was
“intoxicated” when he signed it.
This is contested by Gordon Dobie, from
the Chicago-based law firm Winston and Strawn LLP, representing
“To our knowledge, it has been 100 years or more since any
defendant has successfully defended such a case through judgment based on an
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Related to this, Cherney also signed four
subsequent attachments on four more days, including two authorizations, one of
which was in his native Russian language,” Dobie said.
Gliklad is also
accused of obtaining the promissory note by fraud, something also contested by
“If Gliklad owed Cherney hundreds of millions of dollars, as he
contends going back to 1996, why is there no letter, e-mail or other document
ever demanding payment?” he asked.
“Instead, Mr. Gliklad has produced
audited financials to the contrary of the claim. It is only after Gliklad
initiated litigation in New York against Cherney that he ever filed this claim
in Israel, and almost a year and a half later,” Dobie said.
lawyer also questions how Gliklad can explain why he would take 100 percent of
the disputed $270m. from Cherney. “Why wouldn’t Gliklad insist on receiving say
25% cash?” Bamberger asked.
“Mr. Gliklad has no answer for this, because
there is none. In addition, why would Mr. Gliklad take the debt in a
non-interest-bearing note and not even make written demand for repayment
that note for six years? Again, Mr. Gliklad has no explanation because
exists,” Bamberger said.
A close friend of Lieberman’s, Cherney made his
fortune in the aluminum industry in Russia during the 1990s and moved to Israel
The charges Lieberman faces, pending a hearing, include
allegedly taking bribes of around NIS 10m. from Cherney and Austrian businessman
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