Deripaska’s Lawyers Triggering Contempt Of Court Investigation In New York And Prepare Themselves

Business newswires had reported today that the conflict between main UC Rusal shareholders —  Oleg Deripaska and Viktor Vekselberg had finally turned into another legal litigation. SUAL Partners, a company which represents Vekselberg and his partner Leonard Blavatnik in Rusal had launched legal action over a $47 billion supply deal struck between UC Rusal and commodities trader Glencore, which also owns Rusal shares.

Sual Partners, which owns 15.8% of Rusal, arguing its right to veto the metal sales deal. The case will go before the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), a disputes resolution forum provided for in the Rusal shareholders’ agreement. 

According to Reuters, the case is being brought against Rusal, Glencore (owns 8,75% stake in Rusal), Deripaska and his holding company En+, through which Deripaska owns 47.4% of Rusal. "The filing relates to a dispute between the shareholders of UC Rusal that arose due to the improper approval of long-term contracts for the supply of primary aluminium and alumina between UC Rusal and Glencore totalling more than $47 billion," Reuters sources added.

Vekselberg’s legal action follows a dispute between Deripaska and Rusal minority shareholders led by Vekselberg who have been angered by his refusal to sell the company’s stake in Norilsk Nickel. Rusal bought the one-quarter stake in NorNickel at the top of the market in 2008 for an estimated $14 billion. Vekselberg had supported offers by Norilsk over the past year and a half to buy back the stake for as much as $13 billion, in a step that would have helped Rusal clear its $11 billion debt burden. He was consistently opposed by Deripaska, leaving Rusal nursing paper losses on the stake, which is now worth around $9 billion.

It seems that most of 2012 Oleg Deripaska would have to present in courts. Besides Vekselberg’s newly launched case, Deripaska would have to defend himself in a pending famous action against Michael Chernoy which is maturing in London, June this year.

New line of defense for Deripaska in this case after experts have found that Deripaska’s signature on Cherney’s primary evidence is genuine, is that he signed a document under duress. That defence rests in turn on claims that Deripaska was the guileless victim of a Russian gangland conspiracy to extort protection money.

To support this claim Deripaska’s lawyers had to fly to US and launch the application against Arik Kislin, accusing him to be the part of a gangland conspiracy together with another Russian criminal Anton Malevsky. According to the claims Kislin had also been in metal trading business with Cherney and was likely to have been guilty of the offenses which Deripaska wants to tie to the reputation of Cherney in the High Court of London. Deripaska’s lawyers asked for a US court order to compel “discovery from Arik Kislin for use in an action pending in the High Court of Justice”.

Apparently, launched application contained allegations which were unfounded, false, and defamatory as it was withdrawn almost immediately after its submission. Judge Weinstein, who had been reviewing the application, ordered that the entire application dossier be sealed, thereby preventing its publication. That happened on March 16, but somehow that didn’t prevent New York Post to get the data from this application and publish a huge article on Kislin, based on false accusations and newspaper’s archive materials.

This publication, attacking Kislin and Cherney, was an offence itself, according to lawyers close to the case. They hint that a complaint of contempt of court by Kislin against the Deripaska’s lawyers is in process of preparation.