Fountain Court Chambers offers unrivalled strength in depth in this field and its long-standing position as the pre-eminent set is reflected in the fact that members at all levels have been instructed in virtually all of the recent leading civil fraud cases, both domestic and international.
Members of Chambers have acted in several of the most significant high profile cases in the last few years in the commercial litigation field in both the Commercial Court and Chancery Division. These include the film finance litigation, the Equatorial Guinea coup case, The Accident Group litigation, and the Berezovsky litigation, the well-known Tajik Aluminium fraud litigation, and two of the largest pieces of English litigation simultaneously in the past few years – the Berezovsky v Patarkatsishvili case and the Kuwait Airways v Iraq Airways litigation.
Domestically, in addition to mainstream bank-related fraud cases, members have also advised on the civil fraud aspects of land banking, and cases concerning the alleged theft of scrap metal, fraud by agents and sub-agents and conspiracy over the scrap metal recycling trade.
The set has been actively involved in the long-running series of cases – both onshore and offshore – that make up the JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov sequence of litigation which involved a significant number of members of chambers. It has been extensively reported in the press as one of the largest fraud cases ever to come before the English courts.
It has also been involved in extensive, high-value civil fraud litigation which ended in the Supreme Court, attracting extensive comment on the principle of ‘breaching the corporate veil’ and on jurisdictional issues, in the case of VTB v Nutritek and others.
The set is expert in dealing with cases concerning the misappropriation of company assets and unlawful share support operation, the investment of monies in a bogus investment scheme, or simple theft of investment bonds obtained fraudulently, to give but three recent examples.
Members have considerable experience in dealing with Russian and CIS cases, dealing with issues as diverse as alleged dishonest conspiracy, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty, large energy and natural resources claims, involving offshore and onshore elements.
2014 saw the set act in a number of notable cases, including the lengthy and multi-jurisdictional Bitel fraud litigation, in the Isle of Man, which settled during a ten-week trial in 2013, and a high-value civil claim brought by Vincent Tchenguiz against the SFO, which has already generated considerable media and legal attention, as well as a number of precedents, arising out of the illegal ‘dawn raid’ on his business and private addresses and the criminal investigation by the SFO.
It has also been represented in the multi-jurisdictional, multi-handed King Litigation which involved allegations of both civil and criminal fraud, as well as international cases in which fraud has later allegedly arisen from alleged high-level government corruption, such as the Texas Keystone court case.
Members also have considerable experience in dealing with claims arising from emerging markets or natural resources, including those involving extensive interlocutory applications, such as the obtaining of world-wide freezing orders applications for summary judgments as part of the suite of tools used by the litigation team to safeguard their clients’ interest, as needed, or to defend against such claims.
Given the very serious nature of the allegations made in fraud cases, much of the work in this field is advisory, with many contentious matters settling or remaining out of the public domain.