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Bank Enforces Judgement against Assets held for Liechtenstein Foundation

In a judgment handed down yesterday, PCB Litigation successfully obtained the appointment of execution receivers over the membership interests of an English LLP. Those membership interests were registered in the names of third parties who in turn claimed to be holding those interests for the benefit of a Liechtenstein foundation, of which the judgment debtor, Mr Skurikhin was merely a discretionary beneficiary. However, the Court was prepared to look at the reality of the position that the judgment debtor either had a right to call for the assets of the foundation to be transferred to him or had de facto control of those assets. Thus the membership interests in the LLP should be considered in equity to be the judgment debtor’s assets and that it was open to the court to appoint a receiver over them.

Having reached those conclusions on the facts, the Court considered it plainly just and convenient for receivers to be appointed. The English LLP holds valuable real estate in Italy and the demands of justice include promotion of the policy that judgments of the English Court should be complied with and if necessary enforced.

The case is reported at JSC VTB Bank v Skurikhin and others [2015] EWHC 2131 (Comm) with Tim Penny, instructed by PCB Litigation, appearing for VTB Bank. PCB Litigation has already succeeded in obtaining worldwide freezing order relief against Mr Skurikhin, obtaining judgments from the English Court based upon Russian judgments, and having Mr Skurikhin committed to prison for failing to disclose assets.

The case has previously shown the English Court’s willingness to recognise and enforce foreign judgments where there is no reciprocal enforcement treaty in place between the foreign jurisdiction and England. This latest judgment now demonstrates the willingness of the English Court to look at the reality of the position when confronted by complex structures disguising the true ownership of assets, and to prevent defendants making themselves judgment-proof.