MOSCOW, March 2 (RAPSI, Vladimir Yaduta) – Ashot Yegiazaryan, a former lawmaker in the State Duma, parliament's lower chamber, challenges the $84 million award plus interest granted by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) in a dispute over a shopping center in Moscow.
Yegiazaryan who has been living in the United States since 2010 after he was stripped of parliamentary immunity challenges the arbitration award in a London court and seeks to prevent its enforcement in the United States, according to court records obtained by RAPSI.
Vitaly Smagin, Russian businessman and Europark shopping center shareholder, in November 2014 was granted arbitration award after he accused Yegiazaryan of stealing shares in a company that owned and operated the center. Yegiazaryan and Kalken Holdings Ltd. owned by him were ordered to pay the damages.
Yegiazaryan first challenged the award in London’s High Court. He claimed among other issues that a 2008 partnership agreement with Smagin that included an arbitration clause was invalid. Yegiazaryan further alleged that he did not sign the 2008 agreement, but rather that his signature was forged.
In July of 2015, London’s High Court dismissed the complaint which had been lodged by Yegiazaryan. He appealed contesting only the effectiveness of the arbitration clause. The appeal was scheduled to be heard and decided in May, however, due to a significant backlog in the Court of Appeal, it is more likely to be heard later this year, court records show.
Meanwhile, Smagin seeks the recognition and enforcement of the arbitration award in the United States. In December of 2014, he filed a petition with the California District Court. In early February, he moved the court for issuance of a summary judgment noting that Yegiazaryan had avoided payment of the award for over a year “concealing his assets in jurisdictions worldwide.” A declaration by Edward Elcoat Poulton, a partner in the London office of Baker & McKenzie LLP, was filed in support of petitioner’s motion for summary judgment. Poulton laid out his vision of the proceedings in Britain and expressed his readiness to testify in the US court.
Last week, Yegiazaryan presented his objections to Smagin’s petition. Yegiazaryan claimed that his former business partner had already secured an asset freeze in Russian courts that would more than satisfy the arbitration award.
Smagin did not disclose this freeze order when he applied to the US court as he was “trying to set himself up for a double recovery,” according to Yegiazaryan.
Declarations by Jeremy Brier, a member of Essex Court Chambers, Douglas James Watson from law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, and Dmitry Barannikov from Pavel Astakhov Collegium of Advocates, were attached to the objections.
In the meantime, two criminal cases were opened against Yegiazaryan on fraud charges in Russia. He has been on the federal wanted list since November 2010 and on the international wanted list since late December. In September 2013, the United States reportedly turned down a Prosecutor General's Office request to extradite Yegiazaryan back to Russia.