Commercial Court hands down judgment in Yukos Finance conspiracy claim

9 October, 2019

The Commercial Court yesterday handed down judgment in Yukos Finance BV & others v. Stephen Lynch & others [2019] EWHC 2621 (Comm). In a reserved written judgment, Sir Michael Burton (sitting as a Justice of the High Court) dismissed all of the claims brought against the defendants. The claimants failed to establish liability under Russian law on the part of any of the defendants for alleged dishonest collusion in connection with the auction of Yukos Finance shares for a sale price of approximately US$307 million in August 2007. The claims also failed on the basis of time-bar, absence of causation and non-recoverability of foreign legal costs under Russian law. The trial judge also rejected the claimants’ case as to disapplication of Russian law of limitation pursuant to s.2 of the Foreign Limitation Periods Act 1984, finding that there was no “undue hardship” to the claimants in this context (paragraphs 99-102 of the judgment).

The trial took place over six weeks during June-July 2019. It was featured in The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2019.

A copy of the judgment is available here.

Stephen Houseman QC, leading Sebastian Isaac of One Essex Court, represented the fourth defendant, instructed by Julian Acratopulo of Clifford Chance LLP.