The Court of Appeal in London ruled on a long-standing lawsuit between billionaire Oleg Deripaska and the former head of VEB, former deputy finance minister Vladimir Chernukhin in favor of the latter. At stake in the dispute between Chernukhin and Deripaska were $ 95 million, which, according to the decisions of the courts of previous instances, the billionaire had to pay the ex-official.
The essence of the dispute between Deripaska and Chernukhin is as follows. Back in 2002, Deripaska's Bazel bought a controlling stake in the textile factory Trekhgornaya manufactory through the Cyprus Navio Holdings. Textile production was transferred from there, and offices and cafes occupied premises in a complex of buildings on 12 hectares in the very center of Moscow, in the Presnya district. The head of the company was Lolita Danilina, at that time the civil wife of Vladimir Chernukhin. Many years later, in 2017, Chernukhin filed a lawsuit with the International Arbitration Court in London and stated that he was an equal partner of Deripaska in Navio Holdings. The ex-official accused the billionaire of an unfriendly takeover of Trekhgorka.
Chernukhin claimed that from the very beginning, back in 2002, when Navio Holdings bought the Trekhgornaya manufactory, he was Deripaska's partner in this project. However, since he himself was in the civil service (in 2000-2002 he was Deputy Minister of Finance, and in 2002-2004 - Chairman of the VEB), Danilina represented his interests.
In 2005, according to Chernukhin, he entered into a shareholder agreement with Deripaska, which secured equal ownership of Trekhgornaya manufactory, and Danilina was the nominal holder of his share in the company. In 2007, relations between Chernukhin and Danilina ceased. In 2010, Deripaska promised Chernukhin, who has been living in London since 2004, to buy back his stake in Navio Holdings for $ 100 million, which, according to Chernukhin’s representatives in court, was preceded by the capture of the Trekhgornaya manufactory by the people of Deripaska. However, in the end, the businessman did not do this. Deripaska, in turn, argued that Lolita Danilina was not the nominal holder of the share of Chernukhin, but the real co-owner of Trekhgorka.
In 2017, the London International Arbitration Court awarded Chernukhin $ 95.2 million in compensation. Deripaska challenged this decision in the High Court of London, but did not succeed there either - in February 2019, the court ruled in favor of Chernukhin.
The court decision of the court of appeal on Deripaska’s lawsuit against Chernukhin basically analyzed the decision of the court of the previous instance. The main argument of Deripaska’s side of the appeal was that the circumstances and conditions of the conclusion of the shareholder agreement in 2005 exclude that Chernukhin could exercise his rights by agreement and uphold them in arbitration. However, the judge considered it proved that it was Chernukhin, and not Danilin, who was one of the parties to the shareholder agreement, and, therefore, his appeal to arbitration was lawful.