Successful Jurisdictional Challenge in PIFSS v. Al Rajaan  

13 November, 2020

On Friday 6th November 2020, Mr. Justice Henshaw handed down judgment in relation to a jurisdictional challenge by several defendants in the case of The Public Institution for Social Security v. Al Rajaan & Others [2020] EWHC 2979 (Comm).

This is one of the most significant pieces of international fraud litigation currently before the English courts and has featured as one of the The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases of 2020. The Claimant is a public institution in Kuwait which operates the Kuwaiti social security and pension scheme and which has brought claims in England against 37 separate defendants, including Mr. Al-Rajaan, its former General Director.  The Claimant claims that Mr. Al Rajaan was paid secret commissions totaling some US$847 million over a twenty year period.

The jurisdictional challenge was brought by seven separately represented defendants and heard over 4 days in July 2020.  Those defendants were two major Swiss Banks, Banque Pictet and Mirabaud & Cie along with several individuals who were former partners of those banks, and a Mr. Luc Argand, a senior Geneva lawyer who was said to have been involved in the commission arrangements with Mirabaud.  Mr. Justice Henshaw upheld the jurisdictional challenges in full, holding that the claims against the relevant defendants were subject to Swiss jurisdiction under the Lugano Convention.

David Davies acted for the 13th Defendant, Mr. Thierry Fauchier-Magnan, a former senior partner of Mirabaud, instructed by Daniel Lavender of Macfarlanes.

Nathan Pillow QC and Tom Ford acted for Mr. Luc Argand, instructed by Crispin Rapinet at Hogan Lovells.

A copy of the judgment can be found here.

Read more about this judgment in The Lawyer here.