The High Court has rejected an attempt by Russian billionaire Vitaly Orlov to keep secret a worldwide freezing order worth $350m (£266m) in the latest twist in a dispute over the ownership of a fisheries company being heard in London.
The freezing order was obtained by Alexander Tugushev, a former business partner of Orlov, amid a long-running legal dispute to secure his one third interest in the Norebo Group. Orlov’s legal team had argued that Tugushev should not able to notify relevant third parties of the freezing order without Orlov’s consent or the permission of the court, saying this would amount to self-incrimination. However in Alexander Tugushev v Vitaly Orlov, Magnus Roth and Andrey Petrik, The Honourable Mr Justice Teare rejected Orlov’s proposed amendment of the order, which was granted by the High Court in July.
Tugushev maintains that Orlov has sought to manoeuvre him out of his share in the Norebo Group of fishing companies, which among other activities supplies 20% of the cod eaten in Britain.
Orlov has claimed privilege on the grounds of self-incrimination, citing a criminal investigation in Russia. He also plans to challenge the jurisdiction of the UK courts. Norebo Europe is a registered company in the UK.
Tugushev said in a statement: 'The High Court’s decision marks another positive step in my battle to regain the shares in the Norebo Group that were illegally taken from me. I will continue to fight for my interest in the company and right the wrongs perpetrated by my former business partner.'
A spokesperson for Orlov said: 'To describe this as a significant legal victory is absurd. It was a hearing mainly to clarify an earlier judgment – which the judge recognised was open to interpretation. No costs award was made against Mr Orlov in respect of this clarification. The remainder of the hearing related to timetabling issues. Someone has attempted to dress up day-to-day administrative business of the courts with inaccurate and unjustified hyperbole. This hearing represented an early step in Mr Orlov’s challenge to the jurisdiction of the English courts and the continuation of the freezing order, challenges which he intends to pursue vigorously.'