Sovcomflot has won leave to appeal against certain judgements bought in the case against Nikitin and Skarga. In London's Court of Appeal (Civil Division), Lords Justice Rix
and Longmore granted an application by Fiona Trust & Holding Corp and 17 other companies (the claimants) - now part of SCF Group (Sovcomflot) - for leave to appeal against certain important elements of a previous Judgement in the case brought by the claimants and others against Yuri Nikitin (the principal of Standard Maritime Limited) and Dmitry Skarga (former director general of Sovcomflot).
The Judgement handed down by Justice Andrew Smith, against which leave to appeal has been granted, was originally delivered in the High Court (Commercial Court) of London on 10th December 2010.
In addition to granting the claimant leave to appeal, Lords Justice Rix and Longmore dismissed an application by Nikitin for leave to appeal three specific aspects of the original judgement.
In reaching his decision, Lord Justice Rix noted the following:
"Ά Leave to appeal is granted regarding whether the law applicable to Nikitin's bribery of Skarga is Russian law as found by Justice Andrew Smith, or as the claimants contended, English law - the application of which would give rise to a claim in respect the significant profits made by Nikitin under various transactions with Sovcomflot.
"Ά The claimants have leave to appeal in relation to the finding of Justice Andrew Smith that the above bribery (the provision of holidays and a credit card by Nikitin to Skarga while he was director general of Sovcomflot) did not establish dishonesty.
"Ά The claimants have leave to appeal the finding that a payment of $100,000 by Nikitin (through his company Milmont) to the vendor of a property sold to Mrs Skarga, was not a further bribe paid by Nikitin for the benefit of Mr Skarga.
"Ά The claimants were denied leave to appeal in relation to certain minor issues relating to two timecharter transactions, involving the charter of the vessels "Romea Champion' and "Tropic Brilliance' to Nikitin's company Henriot Finance.
Finally, Lord Justice Rix determined that Intrigue Shipping be granted leave to appeal the Judgement that awarded it no costs in relation to its successful commission claims. Lord Justice Longmore agreed in full with the decisions of Lord Justice Rix.
It is anticipated that the claimants' appeal will be heard by the Court of Appeal in London sometime during 2012.
Commenting on this news Vladimir Mednikov, executive vice president of SCF Group (Sovcomflot), Chief Legal Officer, said: "We welcome the decision of the Court of Appeal to grant us leave to appeal significant parts of the original Judgement handed down by Justice Andrew Smith in December 2010.
This is an important and necessary step in our work to recover damages for the significant financial harm caused to SCF Group, its companies and shareholder, as a result of the activities of Nikitin and Skarga," he said.
Lord Fairfax, SCF Group executive board member, senior risk strategy officer, said: "SCF Group has a responsibility to investigate any cases where it may have been the victim of fraud. We remain convinced that it was right to have brought our original claims, particularly against the background of the new English Bribery Act. Now, with the benefit of an appeal, we have an opportunity for our position to be more fully vindicated."
Source: Tanker Operator