Privatbank case: Poroshenko and Gontareva win London court case against Surkis

A London court has dismissed the Surkis brothers’ lawsuit against Petro Poroshenko and Valeria Gontareva in the PrivatBank case, lawyer Ilya Novikov said. Thus, the attempt to compromise the nationalization of PrivatBank and collect $ 350 million from the state of Ukraine failed, the lawyers emphasized.

“Today the decision of the London court was issued, which completely rejected Igor Surkis and a group of companies belonging to his family’s claim in the lawsuit to nationalize PrivatBank. The lawsuit is worth more than $ 350 million. Claims were made against the fifth President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko and the former head of the National Bank Gontareva. The court declared these claims completely insolvent, “Ilya Novikov said.

He also noted that Ukrainian Foreign Ministry officials tried to mislead the London court by sending an official letter stating that Ukraine, represented by the Foreign Ministry, had waived state sovereign immunity in the lawsuit.

“If the court recognized this version, we would eventually have to pay $ 350 million plus interest from the budget of Ukraine. Formally speaking, the waiver of immunity has the consequence that the state fully assumes responsibility in a foreign court for the actions of specific officials, “Ilya Novikov explained.

“This letter was signed by Mr. Lukyanov, who was the acting Secretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is a rather scandalous situation. The difficulty of translation was complicated by the fact that his title could be translated into English as “secretary of state”, and it is clear that in the perception of British lawyers, this is something like the US Secretary of State. That is, if the plaintiffs came up with this trick with this letter and this ambiguous translation, the court could really get the impression that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine or some official with a similar position had declared a waiver of immunity. The court, fortunately, understood all this. This issue has been removed, “Novikov said.

“The attempt to compromise first of all the nationalization of PrivatBank and everything connected with it failed. And the attempt to collect huge sums of money from the state of Ukraine – about $ 350 million – failed,” said lawyer Ihor Holovan.

“We are very interested in the attempt by Ukrainian officials, in particular foreign ministry officials, to help Surkis and his companies in this attempt. I think that NABU and the SBU have every reason – an official document, a decision of the United Kingdom Court – to launch a pre-trial investigation into how this happened, who was involved, and who is responsible for this attempt, for trying to mislead the British Court and create conditions for depriving Ukraine of sovereign immunity in this court, “said Ihor Holovan.

“It simply came to our notice then. But it failed due to the active and professional position of lawyers who represented the interests of Poroshenko and Gontareva in the English court, as well as the professionalism of the British court. But I am convinced that the officials responsible for this and those who directed their actions should be brought to justice for this case, “the lawyer said.

“The direct consequence for Surkis will be that he will have to discuss the issue of compensation for court costs. Under English law, this issue is discussed separately, it is not resolved automatically on the day of the decision. At the moment, these costs amount to more than $ 2 million,” Ilya Novikov said.

“We will not give unambiguous interpretations of what Surkis wanted to achieve – whether he just wanted to receive monetary compensation, whether it was a question of influencing the consideration of the claim in the Ukrainian courts on the same subject, as to how the nationalization of PrivatBank was carried out and what place Surkis and his company occupied in it. But one way or another, whichever of these motives was a priority for the plaintiff, both money and decisions concerning the interests of the former owner of PrivatBank Kolomoisky were involved here,” Novikov reminded.

“Nevertheless, we state that today both of these schemes have been shut down. The decision that took place is authoritative, extremely detailed, extremely specific. We will definitely publish its translation and you will have the opportunity to see it in detail, “Ilya Novikov summed up.