Gorbunova v Estate of Boris Berezovsky & ors [2016] EWHC 1829 (Ch)

WTLR Issue: November 2016 #164

GORBUNOVA

V

(1) The Estate of BORIS BEREZOVSKY (also known as PLATON ELENIN) (deceased)

(2) SOCIETE D'INVESTISSMENTS FRANCE IMMEUBLES

(3) OVACO AG

(4) COMODO LIMITED

(5) LMC TRUSTEES LIMITED

(6) FOTOPARK LIMITED

(7) STEELVILLE LIMITED

(8) LEV KRANT

(9) NICHOLAS STEWART WOOD (as Trustee of the Estate of BORIS BEREZOVSKY)

(10) KEVIN JOHN HELLARD (as Trustee of the Estate of BORIS BEREZOVSKY)

(11) MICHAEL THOMAS LEEDS (as Trustee of the Estate of BORIS BEREZOVSKY)

Analysis

B had been involved in litigation against A and the AP family (the litigation) from which he potentially stood to recover large sums of money. The claimant, G, was B’s long-term partner. In March 2012 the litigation deed was drawn up to reflect agreement between B and G regarding G’s entitlement to B’s assets (including the litigation). B subsequently lost his case against A and entered into settlement discussions with the AP family. The litigation agreement was a further document signed in September 2012 to reflect an agreement between B and G concerning her entitlement to any sums from any such settlement. In September 2012 B signed a settlement agreement with the AP family (the settlement agreement). Upon it subsequently becoming apparent that B may not honour the terms of his agreement with G, she issued proceedings against him. In March 2013 B died and the trustees were ultimately appointed as trustees of his insolvent estate. In March 2014 the AP Family made payments to B’s estate pursuant to the settlement agreement. From these, a sum of £34m remained in the estate. This was the only substantial asset. G asserted proprietary claims and claims for damages against the estate based upon the litigation deed and the litigation agreement.

Counsel details

Henry Legge QC, Leon Sartin and Hugh Cumber (5 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, London WC2A 3XT, tel 020 7242 6201, e-mail clerks@5sblaw.com) instructed by Withers LLP (6 Old Bailey, London EC4M 7EG, tel 020 7597 6000, e-mail enquiries.uk@withersworldwide.com) for the claimant.

Elspeth Talbot Rice QC (XXIV Old Buildings, Ground Floor, 24 Old Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn, London WC2A 3UP, tel 020 7691 2424, e-mail clerks@xxiv.co.uk) and Donald Lilly (4 Stone Buildings, Ground Floor, Lincoln’s Inn, London WC2A 3XT, tel 020 7242 5524, e-mail clerks@4stonebuildings.com) instructed by Holman Fenwick Willan LLP (Friary Court, 65 Crutched Friars, London EC3N 2AE, tel 020 7264 8000) for the ninth to eleventh defendants.

Legislation referenced

Legislation in bold has further reading - click to view.

  • Administration of Insolvent estates of Deceased Persons Order 1986, SI 1999/1986, Art 3
  • Insolvency Act 1986, s284