There is no evidence to suggest that an alleged plot to deprive a Russian businessman of his stake in a billion-pound valued fishing company was ‘hatched together’ in London, the High Court has heard on the second day of a jurisdiction challenge.
In Tugushev v Orlov & Others the English courts’ authority to hear the case is being tested.
The case concerns a battle between Vitaly Orlov and Alexander Tugushev over a stake in the $1.5bn (£1.2bn) Norebo Group.
Orlov took control of Norebo in 2016 and Tugushev claims that his one-third interest in the company is not being recognised. He claims Orlov and other defendants conspired to remove him from the company.
Orlov is challenging whether the English courts have jurisdiction in the case.
The court heard today that, according to Tugushev, the plot to deprive him of his stake was planned during a meeting in London between Orlov and another key player in Norebo, Magnus Roth.
But Orlov’s counsel Christopher Pymont QC said there is ‘no proper case’ for saying that the ‘conspiracy was hatched’ at this meeting.
The fact the meeting took place was not in dispute, Pymont said, but that any alleged plot must have happened before because Orlov, and Roth, were ‘already acting as owners’. Further, the evidence suggests that Tugushev was already concerned about what Orlov and Roth were planning from an earlier stage, Pymont said. He added: ‘We say there is no real evidence that a plot was hatched at that meeting.’
Also today, the court heard that the UK office of Norebo, based in Maidenhead, is primarily a sales office, with ‘no administrative function’. The role of the Maidenhead office, Pymont said, is not enough to establish that the court has jurisdiction.
Yesterday the court heard arguments surrounding how the test of ‘usual residency’ should be met.
Orlov’s lawyers submitted that he did not meet this test despite documents filed with the court claiming that Orlov had purchased a £13m apartment overlooking the Thames which was intended to be a base for him to spend time with his children and had previously owned other homes in the capital.
Orlov’s lawyers claimed this apartment was not a family home but a ‘rather soulless place’.
The case continues.