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Billionaire businessman in ownership dispute loses court secrecy protection

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Moves by Russian billionaire and oligarch Vitaly Orlov to keep secret a worldwide freezing order worth £266m has been recently rejected by the High Court in London. in the latest twist in a dispute over the ownership of a fisheries company being heard in London.

Orlov’s attempts to keep the freezing order secret is the latest chapter in a long-running dispute over the ownership of fisheries company Norebo Group. The freezing order was obtained by former business partner Alexander Tugushev as part of the protracted legal dispute to secure his one third share of the Murmansk based business. It was argued by Orlov’s legal team that Tugushev should not able to reveal details of the global freezing order to related business partners and parties without Orlov’s consent or the permission of the court, claiming that this would effectively be self-incrimination.

Alexander Tugushev, a prominent businessman in the international fishing industry who over the past 30 years has been responsible for founding some of Russias best performing companies in the sector maintained that Orlov had tried to force him out of his share in the Norebo Group of fishing companies. Orlov had claimed privilege on the grounds of self-incrimination, citing a criminal investigation in his native Russia alluding to potential money laundering proceedings. Orlov has also stated his intention to He challenge the jurisdiction of the UK courts in the matter. However in Alexander Tugushev v Vitaly Orlov, Magnus Roth and Andrey Petrik, Judge Mr Justice Teare rejected Orlov’s proposed amendment of the order, originally granted by the High Court in July.

Tugushev commented in a formal statement:


The High Court’s decision marks another positive step in my battle to regain the shares in the Norebo Group that were illegally taken from me. I will continue to fight for my interest in the company and right the wrongs perpetrated by my former business partner.”

In response, a member of Orlov’s legal team said:

To describe this as a significant legal victory is absurd. It was a hearing mainly to clarify an earlier judgment – which the judge recognised was open to interpretation. No costs award was made against Mr Orlov in respect of this clarification. The remainder of the hearing related to timetabling issues. Someone has attempted to dress up day-to-day administrative business of the courts with inaccurate and unjustified hyperbole. This hearing represented an early step in Mr Orlov’s challenge to the jurisdiction of the English courts and the continuation of the freezing order, challenges which he intends to pursue vigorously.”

 

 

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