Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal judgment concerning US$3 billion freezing orders

1 March, 2023

On Wednesday 8 February the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal handed down judgment in Renova Industries Limited and others v Emmerson International Corporation and others BVIHCMAP2019/0001 upholding the discharge of US$3 billion freezing orders.

The three freezing orders granted in November and December 2018, each with a gross value of over US$3 billion in assets, had been obtained in the long-running legal dispute in the BVI brought by Mr Abyzov (and associated companies incl. Emerson International Corporation) (“the Emmerson Parties”) against Mr Viktor Vekselberg and others (“Renova Parties”) relating to a Russian electricity generation joint venture. In June 2019 Jack J ruled that the freezing orders should be discharged, but the orders remained in place pending the result of an appeal by Emmerson International Corporation. The Emmerson Parties advanced 32 grounds of appeal.

In dismissing the Emmerson Parties’ appeals, the Court of Appeal held that Jack J was correct to discharge the freezing orders on the basis of a failure to establish a real risk of dissipation, the delay in pursuing such Orders and, in any event, on the grounds of material non-disclosure at the original ex parte applications. Further appeals by Emmerson in respect of a confidentiality club and an order dismissing an adjournment application were also dismissed.

Full judgment re: Freezing Orders available here.

Full judgment re: Appeals re: Confidentiality Club here.

Paul McGrath KC with Michael Bolding (Brick Court Chambers) represented the Renova Parties, instructed by Jeremy Andrews from DLA Piper and Arabella di Iorio and Andrew McLeod (now One Essex Court) from Agon Litigation. Sophia Hurst also was instructed on earlier stages of this litigation whilst on secondment to Agon Litigation.