ArcelorMittal Essar Steel Minnesota arbitration award recovery battle in UK court - Report
The Print reported that Mr LN Mittal has opened a new front in the UK in a worldwide legal battle with the Ruia family. Set against the backdrop of an ongoing tussle in India, he has accused his fellow Indian tycoons of hiding funds through a series of sham transactions within the Essar Group. As part of efforts to seize assets relating to a USD 1.5 billion Minnesota arbitration award, the case has moved to London, with Mr Mittal on one side and Mr Prashant Ruia on the other, awaiting a judge’s ruling on the legality of the search. So far not one cent of the US award owed to ArcelorMittal following the collapse of an iron-ore contract has been paid.
As per report “A squad of lawyers and computer specialists from ArcelorMittal was at the London offices of a company controlled by the Ruia family’s Essar Group and a team working for Essar were out to stop them.
ArcelorMittal’s attorney, Anthony Peto, said at a court hearing last week “The Ruias must have thought they had “successfully hidden behind the battlements. They felt they were safe: they were not.”
Essar Steel’s lawyer Daniel Toledano said “This is a case of the English court being asked to act not just as the world’s policeman, but as its detective agency as well.’
For ArcelorMittal, Essar’s Lansdowne House offices may be the key to tracing the group’s assets. That’s because a company in the building, just minutes from London’s Ritz Hotel, had acted as a financial controller for various Essar units. Not only was a group server found on the premises, but company accounts pointing to where the money had gone. But for Essar, which settled another London lawsuit earlier this year where creditors sought the seizure of a yacht and an oil refinery, the case is an example of judicial overreach. A UK court should have no jurisdiction over an American award against a company incorporated in Mauritius, Essar Steel’s attorneys argued.
Meanwhile the ruling in the Minnesota arbitration case, which ArcelorMittal is trying to enforce in London, arose out of a terminated contract to supply iron-ore pellets. But Essar Steel Ltd, which had assumed the liabilities of the US contract, has said it couldn’t pay. It now has less than USD 2.5 million in assets.
Source : The Print