MOSCOW, November 23 (RAPSI) – The United States District Court for the Central District of California ordered to freeze the assets of Ashot Yegiazaryan, a former Russia's State Duma lawmaker, worth almost $116 million.

In November 2014, the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) ordered Yegiazaryan and Kalken Holdings Ltd. under his control to pay $84 million plus interest to businessman Vitaly Smagin, who said his shares in a company that owned and operated a shopping center in central Moscow had been stolen.

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 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, where Yegiazaryan resides. In December of 2014, he filed a complaint 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.”

The California District Court ruled in March the LCIA award to be recognized and enforced. Yegiazaryan was ordered to pay over $92.5 million. He later appealed the ruling.

In the meantime, assets of Yegiazaryan were frozen by the Los Angeles Superior Court. The court decision included $188 million placed in a trust managed by a Lichtenstein trustee, the court records show. After failing to persuade the Los Angeles court to stay the freeze, which was to terminate in mid-October, Smagin filed an application for emergency injunctive relief with the California District Court. The application was granted.

Otherwise, judge Manuel Real said in his ruling, Smagin “would be left without protection from Mr. Yegiazaryan’s duplicity.”