MOSCOW, March 27 (RAPSI) - The London High Court of Justice set aside service of proceedings Wednesday in a case brought by an American businessman against Russian magnate Lev Cherney.

Plaintiff Carl Sax initiated the action against Cherney on the basis of an alleged breach of contract in connection with a property acquisition deal.

The parties had been interested in acquiring a large abandoned villa in Sardinia for a hotel development project. A series of disputes led to the termination of negotiations.

Among other things, Cherney voiced concern about a legal conflict with a local shepherd. According to the judgment: “[Cherney] also believed that the position had been misrepresented to him as regards the ability to resolve the shepherd’s rights and the two-kilometre restriction. “

Sax had relied upon a jurisdictional gateway based on the assertion that his claims had arisen from a contract governed by English law.

Cherney challenged the jurisdiction on several bases. He argued that Sax could not establish the following key issues: that there was a contract, and that such contract should be governed by English law; that there was a serious issue with the alleged breach of contract to be litigated; or that England would be the most appropriate forum for litigation.

He further argued that service of proceedings should be set aside.

The court agreed, finding that the document at issue in the case “was never intended to be and was not a legally binding agreement.”

The court further reasoned that the document at issue is likely most strongly connected with Russia, and that it has not been shown that a preponderance of the evidence links the document with England.

The court concluded that the service of proceedings should be set aside, stating: “Mr Sax cannot bring himself within the jurisdictional gateway relied upon.  In any event this is not an appropriate case for service out since Mr Sax cannot show that there is a serious issue to be tried in respect of his damages claim.”