Avonwick Holdings Ltd (claimant/respondent) –v- Azitio Holdings Ltd & Ors (defendant/appellant)
Tuesday 6th – Wednesday 7th July 2021
This is the 2nd and 4th Defendant’s (together the Taruta Parties) appeal against the Order of Mr Justice Picken dated 14th July 2020 and the costs/consequentials Order dated 28th July 2020.
These are very substantial proceedings which have been described, not inaccurately, as being akin to divorce proceedings between three extremely wealthy Ukrainian businessmen: Mr Vitaliy Gaiduk, Mr Sergiy Taruta and Mr Oleg Mkrtchan (together, the `Partners’). Mr Gaiduk and Mr Taruta are also prominent in Ukrainian politics, Mr Gaiduk being a former Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine (as well as having held various other ministerial posts) and Mr Taruta being both a former Governor of Donetsk Oblast, a region which has since March 2014 been held by pro-Russian forces, and a member of the Ukrainian Parliament representing the same region. Another party, Prandicle Ltd (`Prandicle’: the Third Third Party), is beneficially owned by Mr Oleh Dubyna, who was for a time Minister of Industrial Policy and First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine. Mr Mkrtchan, was represented by both solicitors and counsel at trial, was unable to attend trial himself as he is currently in prison in Russia after a secret trial which culminated in his receiving a nine-year sentence of imprisonment in August 2019.
Specifically, the Taruta Parties appeal the dismissal of:
1.1. the Taruta Parties’ unjust enrichment claim against the Claimant (Avonwick), the First Third Party (Mr Gaiduk), and the Fourth Third Party (Mrs Gaiduk; collectively, the Gaiduk Parties): Order 2 and Judgment;
1.2. the Loan Claim (as it is referred to in the Judgment) brought by Mr Taruta
against the Third Defendant (“Mr Mkrtchan”): Order 5 and Judgment [1104(5)]; and 1.3. the Amended Settlement Agreement Claim (as it is referred to in the Judgment) brought by Mr Taruta against Mr Mkrtchan : Order 6 and Judgment [1104(6)].