After a six month mega-trial, in a 1566 paragraph judgment, Mr Justice Andrew Smith has today dismissed all claims made by two Russian state shipping companies against their former director-generals, Mr Skarga and Mr Izmaylov. The Claimants sought damages of over US$850 million on the basis of wide-ranging allegations of fraud, heard over 76 court days. The Claimants’ costs alone total more than £37 million.
Sovcomflot and Novoship alleged that Mr Skarga and Mr Izmaylov had been corrupted by bribes paid by a very wealthy Russian businessman (Mr Nikitin) including luxury holidays on private jets to Cyprus, Milan and Sardinia. They issued fraud claims against all three individuals and against companies said to be associated with Mr Nikitin.
The Judge not only dismissed the claims against Mr Skarga and Mr Izmaylov, but also dismissed the majority of the claims against Mr Nikitin and his companies. The Claimants did succeed in proving that London brokers Clarksons and Galbraith’s had dishonestly paid commissions on sale and purchase of vessels to Mr Nikitin or at his direction. They thereby hope to recover damages of some US$35 million.