8th Sep 2023


Daniel Feetham KC and Rowan Pennington-Benton (instructed by Madison Legal) for the Ninth to Thirteenth Defendants

Mr Justice Richard Smith:

A. Introduction

This judgment concerns four applications by the Claimants for permission to amend their Particulars of Claim (PoC), including the proposed joinder of an additional claimant. The seventh and eighth Defendants have themselves made three related applications, namely (a) to adjourn the hearing of the Claimants’ amendment applications (b) for permission to rely on further evidence and (c) for a stay under Articles 33 or 34 of Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 December 2012 (Brussels Recast) of such amended claims for which the Claimants may be given permission.

The parties

The (existing) Claimants are Mrs Loudmila Bourlakova (Mrs Bourlakova) and two companies of which she is the ultimate beneficiary, one of which, Hermitage One Limited (H1), is incorporated in the Isle of Man and the other, Greenbay Invest Holdings Limited (Greenbay), is incorporated in the Seychelles.

The first Defendant, Mr Oleg Bourlakov (Mr Bourlakov), died on 21 June 2021, after the commencement of these proceedings but before certain applications to challenge jurisdiction had been made and dismissed by Trower J on 26 May 2022 (Bourlakova and others v Bourlakov and others [2022] EWHC 1269 (Ch)). The major part of the wealth of Mr Bourlakov and his family derived from the acquisition and subsequent sale in 2007 of a major Russian cement producer for US$1.45 billion.

Both Mrs Bourlakova and Mr Bourlakov are or were Ukrainian, Russian and Canadian nationals, albeit domiciled in Monaco at the material time. They were married in Ukraine in June 1972. The Claimants allege that there had been an irretrievable breakdown in marital relations between Mr Bourlakov and Mrs Bourlakova since late 2017. On 19 December 2018, divorce proceedings were initiated by Mrs Bourlakova in Monaco. They have two daughters, Elena who lives in Canada, and Veronica who lives in London. It is Veronica who now seeks to be added as an additional claimant.

The second to fourth Defendants (the Leo Defendants) were all involved in the provision of fiduciary corporate services and advice to Mr Bourlakov, together with companies and foundations owned or controlled by him. The second defendant, Mr Daniel Tribaldos, who is domiciled in Switzerland, owns or controls a substantial proportion of the shares in the third Defendant, Leo Services Holding Limited (Leo Holding), an English company of which Mr Tribaldos is sole director. In turn, Leo Holding owns all the shares in the fourth Defendant, Leo Trust Switzerland AG (Leo Trust), a company incorporated in Switzerland, and Leo Trust Cyprus Ltd (Leo Cyprus), a company incorporated in Cyprus. Mr Tribaldos is also a director of both Leo Trust and Leo Cyprus.

The fifth Defendant, Mr Reuwen Schwarz, was a director of Leo Trust until February 2020 and is domiciled in Israel. A family trust associated with Mr Schwarz indirectly holds shares in Leo Holding through a Panamanian company, Rudan Business Holdings SA.

The sixth Defendant, Mr Semen Anufriev, is a relative of Mr Bourlakov and a German qualified lawyer. He was managing director of the Bourlakov family office and, since 2012, has played a central role in the management of Mr Bourlakov’s business interests and personal wealth. He is domiciled in Latvia.

The seventh and eight Defendants (the Kazakovs) are Mr Bourlakov’s brother-in-law, Mr Nikolai Kazakov, and his wife, Mr Bourlakov’s sister, Mrs Vera Kazakova. Although Mr Kazakov initially said on the jurisdiction applications that he was domiciled in Monaco, he later withdrew his evidence to that effect and accepted that, at the material time, he was domiciled within the EU, in Estonia. Trower J found the same in relation to Mrs Kazakova.

The ninth to thirteenth Defendants, Columbus Holdings and Enterprises SA (Columbus), Finco Financial Inc (Finco), Gatiabe Business Inc (Gatiabe), Edelweiss Investments Inc (Edelweiss) and IPEC International Petroleum Co Inc (IPEC) (together, the Panamanian Companies), are companies incorporated in Panama. The precise ownership of the Panamanian Companies and how they came to be owned or controlled by the protagonists to this dispute are amongst the issues with which these proceedings are concerned, including a number of the Claimants’ proposed related amendments.

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Daniel Feetham KC

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Rowan Pennington-Benton

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