Commercial Court gives judgment in US$850M Russian Bank Fraud Dispute

31 January 2020

On 23 January 2020, Mr Justice Bryan handed down judgment in National Bank Trust v Yurov & others [2020] EWHC 100 (Comm) following a 9-week trial in October/November 2018. The case had previously featured as one of The Lawyer magazine’s Top 20 Cases of the Year and was one of the most substantial Commercial Court trials to take place in 2018.

The Bank brought claims against its former majority shareholders and board directors for breach of their directors’ duties, claiming damages in excess of US$850 million in respect of a number of loans entered into by the Bank, which were claimed to be related-party transactions.  

The Court considered forensic accounting evidence tracing thousands of transactions through multiple off-shore companies over a ten-year period. The Court also considered many disputed points of Russian law including the ability of an employer to bring civil proceedings against employed directors, along with principles relating to limitation of liability and time-bar.

Tom Poole, along with Alexander Halban (Littleton Chambers), led by Paul Stanley QC (Essex Court Chambers), appeared for the First and Fourth Defendants, instructed by Gresham Legal.

The Bank was represented by Nathan Pillow QC, David Davies and Anton Dudnikov (Essex Court Chambers), instructed by Steptoe & Johnson UK LLP. The Second and Fifth Defendants were represented by Tim Penny QC and Tara Taylor (Wilberforce Chambers), instructed by Fried Frank Harris Shriver and Jacobson LLP. The Third and Sixth Defendants were represented by James Willan (Essex Court Chambers), instructed by Byrne & Partners.

The full judgment is available here.