A US judgment in which a UK solicitor was found, along with his client, to have made 'misleading representations’ in a battle for the control of a TV station in Ukraine has been cited at a Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal hearing.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority said during opening arguments in the prosecution of Alexis Maitland Hudson that the 2012 judgment of Judge Charles Ramos in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, should carry ‘significant weight’.
Maitland Hudson, formerly owner of the now dissolved Maitland Hudson & Co, is accused by the SRA of acting where there was a conflict of interest and of misleading the SRA. He denies all charges. The hearing is expected to last three weeks.
In the US case, judge Ramos found that New Media Holding Company (NMHC) should be awarded $31,732,541 (£22.7m) in a dispute with businessman Konstantin Kagalovsky, who had been represented by Maitland Hudson. Kagalovsky is a Russian national and former senior government official who has lived in London since 2004.
NHMC had alleged that Kagalovsky and his nominee, a company called Iota, breached contractual and fiduciary obligations by transferring without ’knowledge or consent’, ownership of TVi and its trade marks to entities owned and controlled by Kagalovsky.
At the tribunal this week, Mark Cunningham QC, of Maitland Chambers, said the SRA would also be producing documents and letters to support its claim but that the New York court’s judgment would ‘form a large part of its evidence’. He said he expected Maitland Hudson, who has yet to give evidence, to say that he worked on corporate reorganisation and dilution of trademarks but was not aware of any wrongdoing.
Cunningham said: ‘We are not inviting you to adopt the judgment, only certain findings as they relate to Rule 7. Although the US court applied the civil standard [of proof] there is nothing to suggest Ramos had any doubts.’
He added: ‘I think the tribunal would agree that the US is a civilised country whose judicial process and decision-making we respect.’
The SDT hearing continues.