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UK Litigation Roundup: Here's What You Missed In London

By Christopher Crosby · May 15, 2020, 5:54 PM BST

London - The past week in London has seen Venezuela's central bank drag England's into court following months of rumored disputes over gold reserves, an offshore tax consultant renew a fraud claim over consultant fees against an investment manager, and consumers sue the likes of Mercedes-Benz amid growing claims over a massive emissions scandal. 

Here, Law360 looks at those and other new claims in the U.K.

Financial Services

Banco Central de Venezuela v. The Governor and Company of the Bank of England 

Venezuela's central bank filed a general average claim against the Bank of England on May 14. For the past several months the cash-strapped country has been pressing England's central bank to release a chink of its gold reserves to help pay for coronavirus relief, according to media reports. 

Venezuela's central bank is represented by Zaiwalla & Co Ltd. England's central bank is represented by Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

The case is Banco Central de Venezuela v. The Governor and Company of the Bank of England, case number CL-2020-000304, in the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. 

MT Finance Ltd. v. Serpes

A property financier that specializes in bridge loans filed a debt claim on May 6 against Melina Rita Serpes. The lender is represented by Brightstone Law LLP. 

The case is MT Finance Ltd. v. Serpes, case number BL-2020-000712, in the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. 

China Minsheng Trust Co. Ltd. v. Jagex Ltd. 

Trust and investment company China Minsheng Trust Co. filed a Part 8 claim against video game developer Jagex Ltd. on May 7. The Chinese investment company, whose parent company is involved in real estate and financial services, is represented by CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP

Jagex is the creator of RuneScape, a venerable online fantasy game. 

The case is China Minsheng Trust Co. Ltd. v. Jagex Ltd., case number BL-2020-000711, in the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. 

Corporate Crime and Compliance 

Prinz Kinematics Holding GmbH v. The Access Bank UK Ltd. 

German automotive supplier Prinz Kinematics filed a commercial fraud claim against The Access Bank UK Ltd., a trade financier and commercial banker. Prinz, which makes door hinges for the likes of BMW, is represented by Dentons UK and Middle East LLP.  

The case is Prinz Kinematics Holding GmbH v. The Access Bank UK Ltd., case number LM-2020-000079, in the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. 

Sullivan v. Ross and others

Brian Sullivan filed a commercial fraud claim against CNM Estates, a real estate developer, and two directors, Wahid Samady and Michael Joseph Ross, on May 12. 

Sullivan is represented by Addleshaw Goddard LLP

The case is Sullivan v. Ross and others, case number CL-2020-000295, in the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. 

Smagin v. Yegiazaryan and another

Russian businessman Vitaly Smagin filed a commercial fraud claim against his former business partner and former Russian politician Ashot Yegiazaryan on May 11. Smagin holds a $93 million arbitral award against Yegiazaryan over a soured mall deal, and has been locked in legal battles in the U.S. to collect the money. The lawsuit also names Vitaly Gogokhia, another former business partner.

Smagin is represented by Baker McKenzie

The case is Smagin v. Yegiazaryan and another, case number CL-2020-000289, in the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. 

Quilter International Isle of Man Ltd. and another v. Leonteq Securities AG and others

Isle of Man-based financial planner Quilter International filed a commercial fraud claim against investment manager Leonteq Securities AG, former employee Alexander Frederick Stuart Robinson, and financial intermediary Eburacum Marketing Ltd. 

Quilter, which rebranded from Old Mutual International, has previously leveled fraud claims against Leonteq in London over commission fees the Zurich-based company paid to advisers on the firm's structured products. Leonteq has previously rejected any claims, saying it "will vigorously defend its position."

Quilter is represented by DAC Beachcroft LLP

The case is Quilter International Isle of Man Ltd. and another v. Leonteq Securities AG and others, case number CL-2020-000291, in the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. 

Becker v. National Crime Agency and another

Timothy George Becker filed a libel claim against the National Crime Agency and Lynne Owens, the agency's director general. In 2019 the agency said it had confiscated millions of pounds from several individuals, including a barrister by the name of Timothy Becker, in connection with a crackdown on assets thought to be connected to international money laundering. It was not clear whether the two Timothy Beckers are the same. 

No counsel information was available. 

The case is Becker v. National Crime Agency and another, case number QB-2020-001639, in the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. 

Tecnimont Arabia Ltd.  v. National Westminster Bank PLC

International engineering and construction procurement supplier Tecnimont Arabia Ltd. filed a fraud claim against British lender National Westminster Bank PLC on May 7. 

Tecnimont, which is based in Italy, is involved in the oil, gas and chemical industries. It is represented by Mishcon de Reya LLP

The case is Tecnimont Arabia Ltd. v. National Westminster Bank PLC, case number LM-2020-000077, in the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. 

Insurance 

Esure Insurance Ltd. v. Advantage Insurance Company Ltd.

Auto insurer esure filed a Part 7 claim against Gibraltar-based car insurance underwriter Advantage Insurance Company Ltd. on May 15. 

Esure is represented by Horwich Farrelly. Advantage is represented by Keoghs LLP

The case is esure Insurance Ltd. v. Advantage Insurance Company Ltd., case number QB-2020-001690, in the High Court of Justice fo England and Wales. 

Premfina Ltd. v. Pegasus Direct Ltd.

A software company for insurance brokers, Premfina Ltd., filed a breach of contract claim against Pegasus Direct Ltd., a motor insurer, on May 11. 

Premfina supplies applications for brokers to manage insurance policies, and also offers funding options. It is represented by Winston Solicitors LLP. 

The case is Premfina Ltd.v. Pegasus Direct Ltd., case number BL-2020-LDS-000023, in the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. 

Zurich Assurance Ltd. v. HHGL Ltd.

British insurer Zurich Assurance Ltd. filed a debt claim against HHGL Ltd., a holding company for British home improvement chain Homebase. 

The company's stores reopened in late April after being closed for about a month due to the coronavirus. 

Zurich is represented by CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP. 

The case is Zurich Assurance Ltd. v. HHGL Ltd., case number BL-2020-000728, in the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. 

CIC Ltd. Lagos and others v. Maersk AS 

A company called CIC Ltd. Lagos and a dozen insurers and underwriters, including Allianz, AXA and several Lloyd's syndicates, filed a cargo claim against shipping giant Maersk on May 6. 

The claimants are represented by Birketts LLP

The case is CIC Ltd.Lagos and others v. Maersk AS, case number  LM-2020-000076, in the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. 

Seahawk Bidco Ltd. v. Lloyd's Syndicate 1686, and others

An acquisition vehicle, Seahawk Bidco Ltd., filed an insurance or reinsurance claim against a host of Lloyd's syndicates, as well as against units of Hiscox and Markel. 

Seahawk is represented by Herbert Smith Freehills LLP. 

The case is Seahawk Bidco Ltd. v. Lloyd's Syndicate 1686, and others, case number CL-2020-000280, in the High Court of Justice in England and Wales. 

Development

Atmore Investments Ltd. v. Marks and Spencer PLC

Liverpool developer Atmore filed a dilapidation claim against retailer Marks and Spencer on May 14. The chain has recently reopened a number of stores across the U.K. following closures due to the coronavirus.  

Atmore is represented by Myerson Solicitors LLP. 

The case is Atmore Investments Ltd. v. Marks and Spencer PLC, case number HT-2020-MAN-000022, in the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. 

Aviation

AerCap Ireland Ltd. and others v. Garuda Indonesia Holiday France SAS, and another

AerCap Ireland, an airplane leasing company, and a handful of French aviation businesses filed an aviation claim against Garuda Indonesia Holiday France SAS, a travel adviser, on May 12. 

The claimants are represented by Clifford Chance LLP

The case is AerCap Ireland Ltd. and others v. Garuda Indonesia Holiday France SAS, and another, case number CL-2020-000296, in the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. 

Competition

Cernescu and another v. Daimler AG and others

Alexandra Cernescu and a number of other claimants have filed a Part 7 claim against German automakers Daimler, Mercedes-Benz and a number of British car retailers, like Pendragon and Lookers PLC on May 8. Automakers have been wracked by fines and class action litigation across the world on an emissions-cheating scandal that has engrossed rival diesel Volkswagen.

Several other law firms have announced they've put together possibly thousands of British drivers in parallel class action lawsuits. 

The claimants are represented by Excello Law Ltd. 

The case is Cernescu and another v. Daimler AG and others, case number HT-2020-LIV-000003, in the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. 

--Editing by Rebecca Flanagan.

For a reprint of this article, please contact reprints@law360.com.

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