Another Russian oligarch was in court this week, claiming that he could “not get justice in Britain”. Farkhad Akhmedov, 61, was determined to keep his £453 million fortune out of the reach of his former wife, Tatiana, but the Court of Appeal judges on Tuesday, 28 February agreed that his solicitor was rightly ordered to disclose that the businessman’s £90 million art collection was held by “entities in Liechtenstein”.
Partner and Head of the Family department, Henry Hood, commented:
“The Court of Appeal was not considering the original (coruscating) judgment against the husband that he pay £453m to his wife, but the subsequent order against his solicitor to reveal communications with third parties concerning the specific assets, which the High Court had ordered to be transferred to the wife to meet it.
“The resulting disclosure in an oral examination by Nigel Dyer QC (well known for his particular expertise in enforcement) showing that the relevant assets had been moved (inter alia) to Lichtenstein just before trial, was never going to assist the husband’s cause. The solicitor contended that the order against him breached the overarching principle of Legal Professional Privilege (LPP). This was rejected by the Court on several grounds. Nigel Dyer QC had been careful to limit his enquiries to administrative arrangements made with third parties (not the client) concerning the assets, such as insurance. Accordingly, the Court decided that the communications did not attract the privilege in the first place, being neither with the husband, nor amounting to legal advice.
“The Court also found that, at the time of the relevant communications, the solicitor was not acting as a legal advisor but as the husband’s “man of business”. This meant that there was not the relevant legal context for the privilege even to arise. Consequently, the Court did not need to decide if the fraud exception to LPP applied. Munby LJ’s comments suggest that it would have done had the need existed.”
Read the full article in The Law Society Gazette here.