‘Assassination risk’ leads Russian to sue in London

By Marcus Dysch, July 10, 2008

An Israel-based oligarch will fight a $4 billion legal dispute in London after a judge deemed it to be unsafe for the case to be heard in Russia.

Michael Cherney is suing his former business partner, Oleg Deripaska, Russia’s richest man, in an attempt to recover an alleged debt.

Last Friday, Mr Justice Clark said any hearing in Russia could involve “improper interference”, due to Mr Deripaska’s links to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. He said Mr Cherney, who left Russia for Israel in 1994, could face the threat of assassination and would be unlikely to get a fair hearing. 

The dispute centres on a deal Mr Cherney says he struck with Mr Deripaska at a London hotel in 2001. He said he had agreed to sell shares in a Russian aluminium group for $250 million and a 20 per cent stake in a larger company, owned by Mr Deripaska, who denies that the deal ever took place.

No date has been set for the case.

Last updated: 1:24pm, July 10 2008