Professional practice

Legal 500 Leading Junior

Anton’s practice spans all core areas of Chambers’ work, including commercial litigation, international arbitration, civil fraud, banking and energy. Recent entries in the legal directories describe Anton as a “superb advocate and draftsman, absolutely top-notch”; “technically excellent, fiercely bright and commercially shrewd, he is a real star who zeroes in on the killer points”; “hands-on, commercial and analytical”; “the sort of lawyer every corporation should have”.

Anton is recommended in the directories as a leading junior in Commercial Dispute Resolution, International Arbitration, Civil Fraud and Energy. He was recently shortlisted for International Arbitration Junior of the Year at the Chambers UK Bar Awards and selected by Legal Week as one of the ‘Stars of the Bar’ in 2016. Anton is listed in Who’s Who Legal: Future Leaders (for both arbitration and litigation) and was named as one of the ‘Rising Stars’ by the same publication.

Many of Anton’s instructions are high-value, complex disputes with a prominent international element, including issues of state immunity, jurisdiction, choice of law, and the application of foreign law. A significant proportion of Anton’s cases involve allegations of dishonesty, and he has appeared in some of the heaviest fraud trials in the Commercial Court in recent years (e.g. the nine-week National Bank Trust trial in 2018, and the eight-week Avonwick trial in 2019 – both of which featured in The Lawyer’s ‘Top 20’ cases), as well as a remote five-week LCIA arbitration hearing in 2020 (before Sir Christopher Clarke, Sir Rupert Jackson and Sir Stephen Tomlinson).

Anton regularly acts for, and advises on claims made by and against, sovereign states and state entities, and has considerable experience of enforcement proceedings and challenges to arbitral awards. He is currently acting for an oil and gas plc in a US$1.7 billion enforcement action against India; for the Republic of Cuba and the former Cuban central bank in sovereign debt recovery proceedings; and for a minister of a foreign government in connection with a US$1.6 billion claim in conspiracy (another ‘Top 20’ case). Anton has also represented the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq in a long-running arbitration and related court proceedings, involving claims valued at US$30+ billion relating to gas fields in Northern Iraq; and Ukraine in resisting enforcement of a US$112  million award (which included appearing as sole counsel in the Court of Appeal).

Anton is well acquainted with the major arbitral rules, including LCIA, ICC and UNCITRAL, and has acted in arbitrations seated in London and Dubai. He has been admitted to the Bar in Gibraltar and appeared in a fraud trial in the Supreme Court of Gibraltar (and subsequently the Court of Appeal). In the High Court in London, he is frequently instructed on applications including, in particular, for freezing orders, anti-suit injunctions and other interim relief, as well as post-judgment enforcement measures and committal proceedings.

Anton is accustomed to acting both as sole counsel and as part of a team of leading and other junior counsel, solicitors and experts. He is regularly instructed in CIS-related cases, being a native Russian speaker who was born in Russia and knows the country and its people (he is “especially prized by Russian clients for his bilingual capability and superior service”). Anton also has experience of sitting as an arbitrator.

 

What others say

Anton is recommended in Chambers & Partners for Commercial Dispute Resolution, International Arbitration and Civil Fraud; and in Legal 500 for Commercial Litigation, Energy and Civil Fraud. Comments have included:

“Technically excellent, fiercely bright and commercially shrewd, he is a real star who zeroes in on the killer points.

“He is a superb advocate and draftsman, absolutely top-notch.”

Phenomenally clever on the legal side. He also has a very good sense for the more strategic aspects.

He has a sharp mind, keenly analyses legal issues, is succinct in drafting and persuasive in his advocacy.”

Astute analysis of issues and outstanding advocacy skills.”

He has a great eye for detail, and therefore is ideally suited for work on complex fraud matters.”

An excellent advocate and tactician.”

He’s incredibly hard-working, proactive and is a prodigious draftsman.”

Hands-on, commercial and analytical.”

Very pleasant to work with, very clever, very strategic and very thoughtful.”

“Very commercial.” “A confident advocate.”

Clever, thoughtful and tactically insightful; he is a junior going places.”

Highly responsive and very alert to the strategic issues as well as the legal ones.”

He’s always on top of everything, and seems to absorb information at an incredible rate.

Has been cultivating an excellent reputation in the market, attracting praise for his superb advocacy skills and insightful analysis of matters.”

An increasingly prominent junior barrister who is frequently involved in high-profile civil fraud claims at first instance and appellate level.

Really impressive and very intelligent. He gets the nuances and the really technical stuff and he is a very good draftsman.

He is hard-working, great on the detail and someone who drafts well. He is very intelligent and perceptive on the legal issues and easy to work with.”

His written advocacy is very precise and persuasive, and he has a very methodical and effective oral advocacy style.”

His draftsmanship is first class.”

He combines the skills of a traditionally trained English lawyer with the knowledge of Russian culture and language.”

Turns around his work with effortless ease and with alarming attention to detail as well as seeing the bigger picture – his fluent Russian is an added bonus.

Anton had been shortlisted for International Arbitration Junior of the Year at the Chambers UK Bar Awards, and appears in Who’s Who Legal: Future Leaders (both litigation and arbitration). He was named as one of the ‘Rising Stars’ in Who’s Who Legal UK Bar 2018, which notes that he is “lauded as an ‘incredibly productive, hard-working and user-friendly’ arbitration counsel who is ‘a pleasure to work with, especially under severe time pressure’. One source comments that Dudnikov is ‘the sort of lawyer every corporation should have’”.

In 2016, Anton was selected by Legal Week as one of the ‘Stars of the Bar’ – “ten most promising barristers of ten years call and under”. The article noted: “Dudnikov’s careful understanding, teamwork, drive, legal acumen and strong advocacy skills will make him a popular choice as a junior from leaders both inside and outside his set, one from which firms and clients can only benefit”.

Examples of recent cases

Dynasty Company for Oil and Gas Trading Ltd v Dr Ashti Hawrami [2021] EWHC 952 (Comm) – one of The Lawyer’s ‘Top 20’ cases. Acting (with Graham Dunning QC) for the former Minister of Natural Resources of a foreign government in a US$1.6 billion claim arising from a failed purchase of an interest in oil and gas blocks in Iraq. Following a 4-day hearing, which involved cross-examination of experts on the Iraqi Constitution, the jurisdiction challenge brought by Anton’s client was upheld on the basis of s. 14(2) of the State Immunity Act 1978 and forum non conveniens.

Avonwick Holdings Ltd v Dargamo Holdings Ltd [2021] EWCA Civ 1149; [2020] EWHC 1844 (Comm) – another of The Lawyer’s ‘Top 20’ cases. Acting (with David Foxton QC) for a Ukrainian politician and businessman in a US$1bn+ dispute concerning a metals business and other assets. Anton cross-examined an expert on Ukrainian law at the 8-week trial in late 2019. A significant point of law, relating to the application of unjust enrichment principles in the context of a valid and subsisting contract, was determined by the Court of Appeal in mid-2021 (Anton was led by Jonathan Crow QC on the appeal).

London Partners Capital Management LLP v Umut Utkan. Acting as sole counsel (against a silk and two juniors) on a heavy application in the Commercial Court for ancillary disclosure under a freezing order; for permission to enforce the order abroad; for letters of authority to be granted in respect of certain banks; and for cross-examination on asset disclosure. The underlying claim is for c. €60 million, and the application was heard over 3 days.

PJSC Otkritie Bank Financial Corporation v Mints [2021] EWHC 692 (Comm). Acting (with Nathan Pillow QC and Louise Hutton QC) for a bank in successfully defeating a jurisdiction challenge brought by three defendants to fraud claims with a combined value of US$800+ million. The dispute relates to transactions involving the replacement of loans with bonds which the claimants allege are worthless. The ongoing proceedings have generated a number of reported judgments on other issues: see, e.g., [2020] EWHC 204 (Comm); [2019] EWHC 2061 (Comm).

CRF I Limited v (1) Banco Nacional de Cuba; (2) The Republic of Cuba [2021] EWHC 514 (Comm). Acting (with Alison Macdonald QC) for the Republic of Cuba and the former Cuban central bank in proceedings brought by an alleged assignee of c. €72 million of Cuban sovereign debt. Various issues arise, e.g., under the State Immunity Act 1978.

Cairn Energy plc v The Republic of India. Acting (with David Joseph QC) for a UK-based energy company in an action to enforce a US$1.7 billion arbitral award against India (made under the UK-India bilateral investment treaty).

Vale SA v Steinmetz. Acting as sole counsel for a Liechtenstein foundation and its subsidiary on an application in the Commercial Court for orders relating to a tracing exercise concerned with the proceeds of a US$500 million payment. The substantive action relates to iron ore mining licences from the Republic of Guinea which the claimants allege were tainted by bribery and corruption. See also [2020] EWHC 3501 (Comm) (acting, with Paul Stanley QC, on an application for summary judgment).

LCIA arbitration: 5-week remote trial.  One of the longer remote hearings conducted during ‘lockdown’, at which the Tribunal (Sir Christopher Clarke, Sir Rupert Jackson and Sir Stephen Tomlinson) heard evidence from around 20 witnesses from multiple jurisdictions. Anton acted (with Nathan Pillow QC) for the respondents and cross-claimants.

National Bank Trust v Yurov – one of The Lawyer’s ‘Top 20’ cases. Acting (with Nathan Pillow QC) for a major Russian bank in a 9-week trial of fraud claims against the bank’s former directors and shareholders. In a 580-page judgment, the Court found the principal defendants to have orchestrated a scheme involving concealment of bad debts, related-party lending, and falsification of the bank’s accounts. Anton’s role at the trial included cross-examination of a forensic accountant in relation to the tracing of funds through complex offshore structures and the calculation of the bank’s loss. Judgment for c. US$900 million was entered in February 2020: see [2020] EWHC 100 (Comm); [2020] EWHC 757 (Comm). Successfully resisted an application to discharge a worldwide freezing order earlier in the proceedings: [2016] EWHC 1913 (Comm).

Pearl Petroleum Co Ltd v Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq. Long-running (now settled) LCIA dispute in connection with the development and exploitation of gas fields in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, described in Global Arbitration Review as “one of the highest-value gas disputes in the Middle East, with claims valued at over US$39 billion”. Anton represented the Government, led by Graham Dunning QC.

Arbitration & related court applications

Anton is recognised as a Leading Junior in this field by Chambers & Partners, and had been shortlisted for International Arbitration Junior of the Year at the Chambers UK Bar Awards. He also appears in Who’s Who Legal: Arbitration – Future Leaders. He has experience of a wide range of arbitral proceedings under various institutional rules (including LCIA, ICC and UNCITRAL) and is equally comfortable working with and without leaders, and as co-counsel with firms of arbitration practitioners.

Anton’s notable instructions include:

  • acting (with Graham Dunning QC) for the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq in a dispute with a UAE consortium, described in Global Arbitration Review as “one of the highest-value gas disputes in the Middle East, with claims valued at over US$39 billion” (LCIA);
  • acting (with Nathan Pillow QC) in a claim for hundreds of millions of US$, heard at a 5-week remote trial by a tribunal comprising Sir Christopher Clarke, Sir Rupert Jackson and Sir Stephen Tomlinson (LCIA);
  • acting (with Graham Dunning QC) for a shareholder in a BVI company seeking relief for unfair prejudice under s. 184I of the BVI Business Companies Act 2004 (LCIA);
  • advising the seller of a leading brokerage business in connection with a dispute about earn-out provisions in a share purchase agreement (expert determination before one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms);
  • acting (with Vernon Flynn QC) in an arbitration concerned with brand licensing arrangements, which settled in a deal estimated to be worth US$225 million (ICC);
  • acting (as sole counsel, against a silk from a well-known commercial set) for an investor in a claim relating to a property development project in Moscow (LCIA);
  • acting (with Graham Dunning QC) in a dispute between publicly listed international oil companies relating to a major offshore development project (ICC);
  • acting (as sole counsel) in a dispute between companies operating in the pharmaceutical industry (LCIA);
  • acting (with Richard Millett QC) in proceedings relating to a restructuring involving a major Russian state-owned bank (LCIA);
  • acting (with Geraldine Andrews QC) in an arbitration involving issues of South African law and state immunity (ICC);
  • acting (with Graham Dunning QC) in an arbitration in Dubai, involving a family feud and the division of a worldwide portfolio of assets (ICC); and
  • acting (with Geraldine Andrews QC) in a commodities arbitration relating to the supply of alumina (LCIA).

Anton also has considerable experience of arbitration-related proceedings in the Commercial Court. This includes applications under s. 44 of the Arbitration Act 1996, challenges to arbitral awards, anti-suit relief, and the enforcement of awards and peremptory orders. For example:

  • Cairn Energy plc v The Republic of India. Acting (with David Joseph QC) for a UK-based energy company in an action to enforce a US$1.7 billion arbitral award against India (UNCITRAL award; UK-India bilateral investment treaty).
  • Enforcement of ICSID award. Advising a state in connection with enforcement action in the Commercial Court in respect of a US$100+ million ICSID award.
  • X v Y. Acting (as sole counsel) for a shareholder in a strategic mining project in East Africa in an application for an anti-suit injunction relating to an ICC arbitration.
  • A v B. Acting (with David Joseph QC) for the majority shareholder in a Russian bank in an urgent application for anti-suit relief relating to an LCIA arbitration.
  • PAO Tatneft v Ukraine [2018] EWHC 1797 (Comm). Acting (with Philip Edey QC) for Ukraine in a jurisdiction challenge on state immunity grounds. The proceedings related to the enforcement of a US$112 million arbitral award for breach of the Russia-Ukraine bilateral investment treaty. In the same proceedings, Anton appeared (as sole counsel) in the Court of Appeal at a hearing concerned with Tatneft’s application for security for costs.
  • PCL v X [2015] 1 WLR 3948. Acting (with Graham Dunning QC) for a foreign government in a successful jurisdiction challenge in the Commercial Court, made on the basis of s. 12 of the State Immunity Act 1978.
  • Pearl Petroleum Co Ltd v Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq [2016] 4 WLR 2. Acting (with Graham Dunning QC) in Commercial Court proceedings relating to enforcement, under s. 42 of the Arbitration Act 1996, of a peremptory order made against a foreign government.
  • Telenor East Holdings II AS v Altimo Holdings & Investments Ltd [2011] Arb LR 9. Acting (with Huw Davies QC) in an application under s. 44 of the Arbitration Act 1996 brought to restrain a corporate acquisition worth in excess of US$6 billion.
  • A v B State. Advising, in the context of an arbitration against a sovereign state, on (i) enforcement of a peremptory order; (ii) enforcement of a partial final award; and (iii) obtaining a freezing order and other relief in aid of enforcement.
  • C v D State. Advising on the enforcement of an UNCITRAL arbitration award against a sovereign state made in proceedings brought under a bilateral investment treaty. The case raised complex issues, including whether an ostensibly separate legal entity is an organ of the state; the scope and application of the ‘commercial purposes’ exception in s. 13(4) of the State Immunity Act 1978; and the effect of the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964.
  • X v Y. Advising on an application for an injunction under s. 44 of the Arbitration Act 1996 in the context of a dispute relating to a letter of credit.

For experience relating to “Bermuda Form” arbitrations, see “Insurance” below.

Banking & financial services

In CRF I Limited v (1) Banco Nacional de Cuba; (2) The Republic of Cuba [2021] EWHC 514 (Comm), Anton is acting (with Alison Macdonald QC) for the former Cuban central bank and the Republic of Cuba in defending a sovereign debt action for c. €72 million, brought by an alleged (indirect) assignee of the original lenders.

Anton is also currently acting (with Nathan Pillow QC) for a bank claiming damages in excess of US$800 million in connection with transactions involving the replacement of loans with corporate bonds alleged by the claimants to be worthless. A jurisdiction challenge brought by three defendants was defeated in the first half of 2021: PJSC Otkritie Bank Financial Corporation v Mints [2021] EWHC 692 (Comm). There have been a number of reported judgments on other issues: see, e.g., [2020] EWHC 204 (Comm); [2019] EWHC 2061 (Comm). Anton is also acting in a related LCIA arbitration: a 5-week trial at which the Tribunal (Sir Christopher Clarke, Sir Rupert Jackson and Sir Stephen Tomlinson) heard evidence from around 20 witnesses from multiple jurisdictions.

Anton has recently represented an asset management company in a claim relating to derivatives and structured product trades: FM Capital Partners Ltd v Marino & others [2018] EWHC 1768 (Comm).

Other instructions include an advice for a major bank on the merits of defending a multi-million pound negligence claim brought by the subject of an erroneous credit reference, and for a ‘master merchant’ providing online processing facilities for payments made using MasterCard, in a dispute concerning the terms of a merchant agreement.

Anton has acted for and advised high street lenders in a variety of disputes with consumers and business customers. He has appeared in mortgage repossession hearings and on applications to obtain final charging orders and orders for sale. He has advised an Isle of Man company in relation to a claim arising out of a well-publicised collapse of a fund that attracted more than £60 million from individual investors, and acted for a major UK bank in connection with a Spanish law share pledge securing a large corporate loan.

Civil fraud & asset recovery

Anton is recognised as a Leading Junior in this field by Chambers & Partners and Legal 500. He is regularly instructed in high-value, complex civil fraud cases. He has extensive experience of trials (including a recent 33-day trial in the Commercial Court and a 5-week remote LCIA arbitration), interim applications (including freezing orders, Norwich Pharmacal and other disclosure orders, and cross-examination on assets), contempt of court and committal applications, and post-judgment measures for enforcement and asset recovery.

Anton has appeared in some of the heaviest fraud trials in the Commercial Court in recent years. In National Bank Trust v Yurov, he represented the claimant bank at a 9-week trial of its Russian law claims against former directors and shareholders. The Court upheld the claims and found the principal defendants to have orchestrated a scheme involving concealment of bad debts, related-party lending, and falsification of the bank’s accounts. Anton’s role at the trial included cross-examination of a forensic accountant in relation to the tracing of funds through complex offshore structures and the calculation of the bank’s loss. Judgment for c. US$900 million was entered in February 2020: see [2020] EWHC 100 (Comm) and [2020] EWHC 757 (Comm). An application to discharge a worldwide freezing order was successfully resisted earlier in the proceedings: [2016] EWHC 1913 (Comm).

In Avonwick Holdings Ltd v Dargamo Holdings Ltd, Anton represented (with David Foxton QC) a Ukrainian politician and businessman in a US$1bn+ dispute concerning a metals business and other assets. Anton cross-examined an expert on Ukrainian law at the 8-week trial in late 2019. A significant point of law, relating to the application of unjust enrichment principles in the context of a valid and subsisting contract, was determined by the Court of Appeal in mid-2021 (Anton was led by Jonathan Crow QC on the appeal). See [2021] EWCA Civ 1149; [2020] EWHC 1844 (Comm).

PJSC Otkritie Bank Financial Corporation v Mints is a claim for US$800+ million concerning an alleged fraud involving the purchase of corporate bonds. Anton is acting (with Nathan Pillow QC) for the claimants, who obtained worldwide freezing relief in June 2019. This was upheld at the return date, and a subsequent discharge application by one of the defendants was dismissed: [2020] EWHC 204 (Comm); [2019] EWHC 2061 (Comm). A jurisdiction challenge by three other defendants was subsequently defeated: [2021] EWHC 692 (Comm). Anton is also acting in a related LCIA arbitration: a 5-week trial at which the Tribunal (Sir Christopher Clarke, Sir Rupert Jackson and Sir Stephen Tomlinson) heard evidence from around 20 witnesses from multiple jurisdictions.

Anton is regularly instructed as sole counsel (including against silks). For example, in London Partners Capital Management LLP v Umut Utkan, Anton appeared alone (against a QC and two juniors) on a heavy application in the Commercial Court for ancillary disclosure under a freezing order; for permission to enforce the order abroad; for letters of authority to be granted in respect of certain banks; and for cross-examination on asset disclosure. The underlying claim is for c. €60 million, and the application was heard over 3 days.

In Vale SA v Steinmetz, Anton acted as sole counsel for a Liechtenstein foundation and its subsidiary on an application in the Commercial Court for orders relating to a tracing exercise concerned with the proceeds of a US$500 million payment. The substantive action relates to iron ore mining licences from the Republic of Guinea which the claimants allege were tainted by bribery and corruption. The damages sought are in excess of US$1.8 billion. See also [2020] EWHC 3501 (Comm) (acting, with Paul Stanley QC, on an application for summary judgment).

Anton has also represented an investment vehicle of the Libyan sovereign wealth fund against its former CEO and his associates. Cockerill J upheld claims in bribery, breach of fiduciary duty and dishonest assistance: FM Capital Partners Ltd v Marino & others [2018] EWHC 1768 (Comm). At the trial Anton cross-examined a Swiss law expert. There have been many interlocutory hearings, including several unsuccessful attempts by the principal defendant to release frozen proprietary assets: [2016] EWCA Civ 1301. Anton was also instructed (with Tom Smith QC) in related bankruptcy proceedings in the Chancery Division: [2017] EWHC 3458 (Ch).

Another substantial fraud case has been a 12-week trial before Eder J in the Commercial Court: Otkritie v Urumov [2014] EWHC 191 (Comm). Anton was led by Steven Berry QC in proceedings brought by a Russian bank against former employees, members of their families, and offshore vehicles involved in laundering the proceeds of fraud. The bank’s claims in deceit, conspiracy, dishonest assistance and knowing receipt (totalling about US$175 million) were upheld. In the middle of trial, some of the defendants made an unsuccessful expedited appeal: see [2013] EWCA Civ 1196.

Following the Otkritie trial, Anton was instructed in several related enforcement proceedings, including in relation to the committal of various individuals to prison for contempt of Court; an application (as sole counsel) for the disclosure of documents to the City of London Police and Crown Prosecution Service; and applications for the sale of properties in St John’s Wood belonging to two of the defendants. In addition, there was an appeal (successfully resisted with Nathan Pillow QC) by a non-party against an order for committal to prison for 20 months: Otkritie v Olessia Jemai [2016] EWCA Civ 1316. Anton has also appeared as sole counsel on an ex parte application in the Commercial Court, seeking worldwide freezing and proprietary relief against a Bermudan company and its CEO, resident in Ukraine.

Anton has acted in an action against a well-known City fund, alleged to be vicariously liable for losses of more than US$100 million caused by their dishonest (former) employee: Otkritie Capital International Ltd v Threadneedle Asset Management Ltd [2017] EWCA Civ 274 (successfully resisting a strike-out application; the Court of Appeal’s decision is now a significant authority on the application of the guidelines laid down in Aldi Stores v WSP Group plc [2008] 1 WLR 748).

In 2016, Anton was admitted to the Bar in the Supreme Court of Gibraltar, and has appeared there in a fraud trial and subsequent appeal to the local Court of Appeal in a case concerning the ownership of funds held in an offshore bank account.

Anton has also acted (with Richard Millett QC) for a former executive of an English company who was subject to a worldwide freezing order. Various provisions of the order were challenged in the Chancery Division: see Cadogan Petroleum Plc v Tolley [2011] EWHC 2286 (Ch).

Anton has considerable experience of contempt proceedings in the Commercial Court and also in the Family Court.

Commercial dispute resolution

Anton is recognised as a Leading Junior in this field by Chambers & Partners and Legal 500, and is named in Who’s Who Legal: Litigation – Future Leaders. He is frequently instructed in heavyweight commercial litigation, typically high-value cases with a strong international element.

Anton’s notable cases include:

Dynasty Company for Oil and Gas Trading Ltd v Dr Ashti Hawrami [2021] EWHC 952 (Comm) – one of The Lawyer’s ‘Top 20’ cases. Acting (with Graham Dunning QC) for the former Minister of Natural Resources of a foreign government in a US$1.6 billion claim arising from a failed purchase of an interest in oil and gas blocks in Iraq. Following a 4-day hearing, which involved cross-examination of experts on the Iraqi Constitution, the jurisdiction challenge brought by Anton’s client was upheld on the basis of s. 14(2) of the State Immunity Act 1978 and forum non conveniens.

Avonwick Holdings Ltd v Dargamo Holdings Ltd [2021] EWCA Civ 1149; [2020] EWHC 1844 (Comm) – another of The Lawyer’s ‘Top 20’ cases. Acting (with David Foxton QC) for a Ukrainian politician and businessman in a US$1bn+ dispute concerning a metals business and other assets. Anton cross-examined an expert on Ukrainian law at the 8-week trial in late 2019. A significant point of law, relating to the application of unjust enrichment principles in the context of a valid and subsisting contract, was determined by the Court of Appeal in mid-2021 (Anton was led by Jonathan Crow QC on the appeal).

CRF I Limited v (1) Banco Nacional de Cuba; (2) The Republic of Cuba [2021] EWHC 514 (Comm). Acting (with Alison Macdonald QC) for the Republic of Cuba and the former Cuban central bank in proceedings brought by an alleged assignee of c. €72 million of Cuban sovereign debt. Various issues arise, e.g., under the State Immunity Act 1978.

PJSC Otkritie Bank Financial Corporation v Mints [2021] EWHC 692 (Comm); [2020] EWHC 204 (Comm); [2019] EWHC 2061 (Comm). Acting (with Nathan Pillow QC) for the claimants seeking damages of US$800+ million in connection with various transactions involving the replacement of loans with allegedly worthless corporate bonds. There have been multiple interlocutory hearings including, most recently, a jurisdiction challenge by three defendants which was successfully resisted.

Vale SA v Steinmetz [2020] EWHC 3501 (Comm). Acting (with Paul Stanley QC) in a US$1.8 billion dispute in connection with iron ore mining licences from the Republic of Guinea which the claimants allege were tainted by bribery and corruption. In the same action, Anton has appeared as sole counsel on an application in the Commercial Court for orders relating to a substantial tracing exercise.

Cairn Energy plc v The Republic of India. Acting (with David Joseph QC) for a UK-based energy company in an action to enforce a US$1.7 billion arbitral award against India (made under the UK-India bilateral investment treaty).

Dispute relating to force majeure / frustration (Covid-19). Acting (as sole counsel) for a Latvian airline in a Commercial Court claim relating to alleged frustration of an aircraft ‘wet lease’ by reason of travel restrictions imposed in response to the pandemic.

Confidential expert determination (before one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms). Advising the seller of a leading brokerage business in relation to a dispute about earn-out provisions in a share purchase agreement.

National Bank Trust v Yurov. Representing the claimant bank at a 9-week trial of its claims against former directors and shareholders. Judgment for c. US$900 million was entered in February 2020: see [2020] EWHC 100 (Comm) and [2020] EWHC 757 (Comm). Anton’s role at the trial included cross-examination of a forensic accountant in relation to the tracing of funds through complex offshore structures and the calculation of the bank’s loss.

Svetly Gorod LLC v OJSC Trust Investment Bank. Successful jurisdiction challenge in the Commercial Court on behalf of a Russian bank in a claim for US$264 million brought by Moscow property investors.

FM Capital Partners Ltd v Marino & others [2018] EWHC 1768 (Comm). Representing an investment management company owned by the Libyan sovereign wealth fund in a claim against its former CEO and his associate. The Court  upheld claims in bribery, breach of fiduciary duty and dishonest assistance.

Otkritie Capital International Ltd v Threadneedle Asset Management Ltd [2017] EWCA Civ 274. Acting (with Nathan Pillow QC) for a Russian bank in successfully resisting an application to strike out a vicarious liability claim for more than US$100 million made against the former employer of a dishonest co-conspirator. The Court of Appeal’s decision is a significant authority on the application of the guidelines laid down in Aldi Stores v WSP Group plc [2008] 1 WLR 748.

PAO Tatneft v Ukraine [2018] EWHC 1797 (Comm). Acting (with Philip Edey QC) for Ukraine in a jurisdiction challenge on state immunity grounds. The proceedings related to the enforcement of a US$112 million arbitral award for breach of the Russia-Ukraine bilateral investment treaty. Following an application for security for Tatneft’s costs of the appeal, Anton appeared (as sole counsel) in the Court of Appeal in April 2019.

Robert Tchenguiz v Serious Fraud Office. Acting (with Joe Smouha QC and Alex Bailin QC) in the high-profile dispute between Robert Tchenguiz and the SFO. The damages claim in trespass and false imprisonment was for lost business following a dawn raid on the homes and business premises of the property entrepreneurs, Robert and Vincent Tchenguiz. Several interim applications are reported: [2013] EWHC 1578, [2014] EWHC 1103, and [2014] EWHC 1315. In the course of the proceedings, Anton appeared (on his own) against a QC and two juniors from One Essex Court in a heavy disclosure application in the Commercial Court.

X v Y. Acting (as sole counsel) for a shareholder in a strategic mining project in East Africa in a Commercial Court application for an anti-suit injunction.

A v B. Acting (with David Joseph QC) for the majority shareholder in a Russian bank on an urgent application in the Commercial Court for an anti-suit injunction.

Samar Telecommunications Ltd v Tele Invest Ltd. Acting (with Vernon Flynn QC) in proceedings brought by the billionaire Wafic Said in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands. The claim related to shares in a Syrian telecoms business.

Telenor East Holdings II AS v Altimo Holdings & Investments Ltd [2011] EWHC 735 (Comm). Acting (with Huw Davies QC) in an application for an interim injunction to restrain a corporate acquisition worth in excess of US$6 billion.

Avrora Fine Arts Investment Ltd v Christie, Manson & Woods Ltd [2012] EWHC 2198 (Ch). Representing the auction house in a 4-week Chancery Division trial about an oil painting sold as the work of Kustodiev, a Russian artist of the early 20th century.

Cadogan Petroleum Plc v Tolley [2011] EWHC 2286 (Ch). Led by Richard Millett QC in litigation between an oil & gas plc and one of its former directors.

Zimareva-Locke v Cetin. Appearing in the Chancery Division (as sole counsel, against a QC) on a return date for an interim injunction sought by a solicitor against one of her colleagues.

Eilon & Associates Ltd v EasyGroup IP Licensing Ltd [2011] EWHC 4094 (QB). Acting (as sole counsel) in a dispute between a corporate finance consultancy and the holder of the ‘easy’ brand.

X v Y. Advising a BVI company on the causes of action available against a former director, including breach of employment contract, breach of confidence and various economic torts.

Y v Z. Advising a Hong Kong company on the merits of a claim relating to online processing of credit card payments.

Conflict of laws & private international law

Many of Anton’s cases involve issues of private international law. He has substantial experience of challenges to the English Court’s jurisdiction (on various grounds, including state immunity), as well as choice of law and the application of foreign law. For some recent examples, see:

  • CRF I Limited v Banco Nacional de Cuba (Cuban law)
  • LCIA arbitration (Cypriot law)
  • Avonwick Holdings Ltd v Dargamo Holdings Ltd (Ukrainian law)
  • National Bank Trust v Yurov & others (Russian law)
  • FM Capital Partners Ltd v Marino & others (Swiss law)

Anton has acted (as sole counsel) in an application for a freezing order against Ukrainian and Bermudan parties, which raised intricate points on service out of the jurisdiction in the context of claims for dishonest assistance and knowing receipt. He has also advised a BVI company doing business in Cambodia on the remedies available in an English court against a former director (a British national resident in Australia).

Anton has written an article on a decision of the Court of Appeal interpreting Article 22(2) of the Judgments Regulation: see “Determining Domicile” in the International Trade and Transport Law Newsletter (January 2010, p 6). He has also contributed to an internal guide on jurisdiction for a law firm specialising in reinsurance disputes.

Energy & natural resources

Anton is recognised as a Leading Junior in this field by Legal 500.

His current and recent cases include:

Dynasty Company for Oil and Gas Trading Ltd v Dr Ashti Hawrami [2021] EWHC 952 (Comm). Acting (with Graham Dunning QC) for the former Minister of Natural Resources of a foreign government in a US$1.6 billion claim arising from a failed purchase of an interest in oil and gas blocks in Iraq.

Cairn Energy plc v The Republic of India. Acting (with David Joseph QC) for a UK-based energy company in an action to enforce a US$1.7 billion arbitral award against India (made under the UK-India bilateral investment treaty).

Pearl Petroleum Co Ltd v Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq. Long-running (now settled) LCIA dispute in connection with the development and exploitation of gas fields in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, described in Global Arbitration Review as “one of the highest-value gas disputes in the Middle East, with claims valued at over US$39 billion”. Anton represented the Government, led by Graham Dunning QC. A decision in connected Commercial Court proceedings is reported at [2016] 4 WLR 2.

PAO Tatneft v Ukraine [2018] EWHC 1797 (Comm). Acting (with Philip Edey QC) for Ukraine in enforcement proceedings brought by Tatneft, one of Russia’s largest oil producing companies, arising out of an arbitration concerning the ownership and operation of the Kremenchug oil refinery in Ukraine.

Confidential ICC arbitration. Acting (with Graham Dunning QC) in a dispute between publicly listed international oil companies relating to a major offshore development project.

Confidential ICC arbitration. Acting (as sole counsel) for a shareholder in a strategic mining project on an application for anti-suit relief in the Commercial Court.

Confidential LCIA arbitration. Acting (with Graham Dunning QC) in a US$300+ million dispute relating to an interest in uranium mines.

Confidential UNCITRAL arbitration. Advising a mining company in proceedings connected with its operations in Central Asia.

Confidential LCIA arbitration. Acting (with Geraldine Andrews QC) in a dispute relating to the supply of alumina.

Insurance & reinsurance

Anton has experience of arbitrations under ‘Bermuda form’ policies of insurance, including a case concerned with artificial heart implants, and proceedings under a pharmaceutical risk policy (English seat; New York law).

Anton has advised on coverage under professional indemnity, D&O and crime policies of insurance.

 

Career

2009 – 2010 Pupillage at Essex Court Chambers

2008 Call, Gray’s Inn

2008 – 2009 Research assistant, Law Commission

2007 – 2008 Tutor in EC Law, St John’s College and Balliol College, Oxford Tutor in Jurisprudence, Wadham College, Oxford

2006 – 2007 Research assistant for Professor Simon Whittaker, St John’s College, Oxford

Education

2013 Keble College Advanced International Advocacy Course

2007 – 2008 BVC (Very competent)

2006 – 2007 BCL, Distinction (Conflict of Laws, Restitution, Jurisprudence and Political Theory) St John’s College, Oxford

2003 – 2006 BA (First Class Hons) (Law) St John’s College, Oxford

Awards

2009 Lee Essay Prize (Gray’s Inn)

2008 Phoenicia Scholarship (Bar European Group)

2007 Herbert Hart Prize (for best performance in Jurisprudence and Political Theory)

2006 Lord Justice Holker Award (Gray’s Inn)

2004 Casberd Scholarship (for a distinction in Law Moderations)