American prosecutor's office failed to postpone the consideration of its own claim in the Southern District Court of New York to forfeit the US assets of the businessman Denis Katsyv, the son of the vice-president of Russian Railways Pyotr Katsyv. The plaintiff wanted to convince the court that he needed time to better substantiate the claims, but did not find understanding: the chairman appointed jury selection on May 15. The defendant and his defense team insist on carrying out the process as soon as possible, claiming that there were no grounds for satisfaction of the claim, and all claims against Denis Katsyv were bases only on unreasonable statements of Hermitage Capital head William Browder.
Session of the Southern District Court of New York on the claim Denis Katsyv ended when the middle of the night was in Moscow. The results of the session fully satisfied both the defendant and his lawyers: in their opinion, the matter was finally put into motion. Recall that the court may has been dragging on the consideration of the claim for three and a half years, and the last break in the sessions lasted about a year. It was due to the fact that the court at the request of the prosecutor's office disqualified the defendant's lawyers, seeing their conflict of interest. Now Denis Katsyv is defended by the lawyers of one of the most famous firms, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP.
At the last session, the plaintiff, who's the representative of the local prosecutor's office, tried to further postpone the process. Substantiating his claim, the prosecutor referred to the large amount of work that he had no time to do for various reasons (for example, he intended to make several versions of the claim), as well as the fact that Russia did not provide some necessary documents for court hearings. However, Judge William Polley III was not persuaded by these arguments. He decided that by February 1, the claimant must give all the material collected by the lawyers of the defendant to them, and appointed jury selection on May 15, which actually means the beginning of the process.
"In 2015, the Russian Federation gave the US prosecutor's office a detailed response to the 14-page application with more than 300 pages of documents, but the assistant prosecutor carefully hid it from everybody, including us," explained the representative of Dennis Katsyv, Natalia Veselnitskaya. "I was forced to demand the correspondence at court, and only after that the Russian response was transferred to our American colleagues. Now the prosecutor is clearly enjoying the moment that the new lawyers we hired less than a month ago, are not as immersed in the case as the former ones, to quickly appeal to a misconception of the case. But the court has responded well, and this plaintiff's trick has not passed."
As previously reported by Kommersant, the claim is based on the assumption that part of the funds for which the businessman acquired the property in the US, was stolen from the Russian budget and through a number of companies it was transferred abroad. The basis of the claim are the statements and testimony of the head of Hermitage Capital, William Browder, who was by the way convicted in absentia in Russia for non-payment of taxes. The main defendants in the lawsuit are Cypriot company Prevezon Holdings Ltd and several of its subsidiaries, owned by Denis Katsyv.
In turn, the defense of Denis Katsyv insists Prevezon company was acquired after the transfer of funds mentioned by the prosecutor's office had been carries out. The lawyers believe that the prosecution was not able to find any indisputable evidence, confirming that the real estate in the US was acquired on criminal means, and the claim is based solely on the words of William Browder. That is why the defendant insists on a speedy proceeding. According to Natalia Veselnitskaya, William Browder and his representatives specifically delay the beginning of the hearing, fearing that "the loss of the case in the court, which impartiality is undoubted, woll put an end to his career." "We have a paradoxical situation: the defendant requires the beginning of the process, and the plaintiff in every way runs from it," said Ms Veselnitskaya, noting that the plaintiff "has not provided any evidence of the alleged criminal origin of the money", for which the property was acquired, and US prosecutors "probably already aware that Mr. Browder deliberately directed them down the wrong path."