VTB sued Oleg Deripaska’s Basic Element and asks to recover almost $ 133 million from the company. The case has been considered in the High Court of London for 25 years as it has become the norm for large and even medium-sized Russian companies. So it has become accepted. It is worth remembering at least the 2012 dispute between the London court between Boris Berezovsky and Roman Abramovich about the shares of Sibneft, when British justice had to deeply immerse into the realities of Russian business, get acquainted with its terminology and learn many new words, such as krysha and otkat .
In the Commercial Court of London, the UC Rusal lawsuit against Crispian Investments of the same Abramovich to ban the sale of Norilsk Nickel’s shares to Whiteleave, which is a part of Inerros Vladimir Potanin, was also considered.
Often, the British courts make far from the most desirable decisions for Russian businessmen. For example, a London court decided to withdraw a mansion from the former head of Mezhprombank and former senator Sergei Pugachev. In 2017, the High Court of London denied Inteco Management President Elena Baturina to recover damages from the ex-manager of RAO UES Alexander Chistyakov. In 2016, the same court was sent to prison for 18 months for “contempt of court” by the owner of the network of shoe stores Carlo Pazolini Ilya Reznik.
But Russian business is still determined to seek justice in Foggy Albion. Last year alone, the Commercial Court of England and Wales ruled in more than 20 cases of Russians. Our compatriots are among the three most active plaintiffs and defendants in British jurisdiction.
This time, the second largest state-owned bank is acting as the Russian plaintiff, and one of the largest private companies in the country as the Russian respondent. The subject of the dispute is exclusively Russian: construction debts, bankruptcy, guarantor’s responsibility - will take time for our economy. In this case, there is not a single foreign element or interest. Absolute Russian style business is in London on the table with the British judges. It is worth noting that this is not about the famous London arbitration: not about the arbitration court, but about one of the highest courts in England and Wales. This is the equivalent of our Supreme Court. In other words, from the point of view of legal theory, our state banker and our private billionaire come to resolve the dispute, to force and force the British, not the Russian state. And it’s obvious that for these companies it’s not the best time to apply to a foreign court. The Russian economy as a whole, the sectors in which the parties to the dispute are working, finally, personally, are imposed sanctions on Deripaska.
So why all the same not in the Arbitration Court of Moscow?
It can be said that the contracts have been drawn up in such a way that it is normal for a major dispute, that VTB is a joint-stock company and it is free to sue where it sees fit. All this is undoubtedly so. But the answer lies deeper. The reason is that immaturity, because of which we, as a society, do not understand why we need our own good courts and real justice, which would allow us not to go into foreign jurisdictions any more and not ask how it would be right and fair to live in that country. or another situation.
To this you can hear that we are trying, this is not a quick business, years and centuries must pass, as in England. But, unfortunately, everyone sees perfectly well that we are not trying, we do not want it and we are doing everything to ensure that this does not happen. Such cases clearly show this.
And if we still want to, it is reasonable to ask: who will make good courts, where will real justice come from? It is usually considered that they should be created by the state. However, using the example of a thousand years of our great history, we see that the state has a monopoly on power, which Plato, Hobbes and Iering talked about, it is not interested in creating an independent court.
And we need justice: society, billionaires and ordinary citizens. And everyone can make a contribution. And it is necessary to recognize that each effort has a different effect. The influence of a judge who does not take bribes and a handset, when called from the mayor’s office or from the presidential administration, is greater than that of the plaintiff or the defendant, who restrain themselves from giving this bribe. And a billionaire who will give his major dispute to a Russian arbitration or arbitration court can do much more than any law firm that tries to introduce modern technologies and enforce the rule of law with all its might on stony Russian soil. Making the billionaire sue in a Russian court instead of English - about how to transplant him from a Mercedes to a “Zhiguli”. But this must be done, otherwise there will be neither normal courts, nor normal "Zhiguli".