Mr Justice FancourtCity law firms representing two oligarchs accused of a multi-billion-pound fraud at a now state-owned Ukrainian bank claimed around £14m in costs after successively arguing that the case should not be heard in London.In a judgment on costs published this week, Mr Justice Fancourt awarded a portion of the claimed costs, around £8.4m, to businessmen Igor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Bogolyubov and five businesses to which they have or have had connections.The judgment shows that international firm Fieldfisher, which represented Kolomoisky, claimed around £9m. Bogolyubov, now represented by Enyo Law and previously by Skadden, claimed £2.9m, while lawyers for the five companies claimed £2.1m.After considering the ‘very very substantial’ costs, Fancourt J awarded interim payments of £4m (Kolomoisky), £2m (Bogolyubov) and £1.5m (the five companies). The costs judgment comes after the High Court ruled in PJSC Commercial Bank Privatbank and Igor Valeryevich Kolomoisky & Others, that the English courts do not have jurisdiction to hear the claims by PrivatBank.A worldwide freezing order for misrepresentation and non-disclosure previously obtained by the bank was also stayed. The oligarchs deny any wrongdoing.PrivatBank, represented by international firm Hogan Lovells, has said it will appeal the ruling.Assessing the £9m costs, Fancourt J said the sum was hard to quanitify as there is ‘no costs schedule equivalent to the kind of schedule that is produced on a summary assessment.‘The short schedule that has been produced provides very little detail at all. It contains, for example, single items for work done on documents for 7,107 hours and 58 minutes, amounting to £2,008,000 of fees, and in another part of the schedule another 4,506 hours of work done on documents for £1.55 million of fees,’ Fancourt J wrote.Fancourt J also rejected a claim by PrivatBank that the fees be placed into a solicitor’s holding pending the outcome of any appeal. ‘At this stage it is clear that very substantial amounts of money have been spent by the defendants on legal fees. It seems to me appropriate, on the basis of my findings, that they should have those interim payments on account of costs at this stage,’ his judgment found.
UK: The Abellio Greater Anglia subsidiary of Dutch national operator NS is to continue operating passenger services between London Liverpool Street and eastern England under a new 27-month franchise agreement announced by the Department for Transport on April 16.The short-term direct award franchise runs from July 14 2014 to October 16 2016. DfT plans to hold a competition next year to award a longer-term Great Anglia franchise.The short-term agreement features a £20m package of improvements which includes:A ‘major refresh’ of MkIII coaches operated on the Norwich – London route, which are to receive new power sockets, carpets, seat covers and lighting;Fitting controlled-emission toilets to the MkIII fleet and Class 321 electric multiple-units;Accessibility improvements to 12 Class 321s ‘as a precursor to further rolling stock improvements which would be agreed as part of the next Greater Anglia franchise’. Abellio will also work with fleet owner Eversholt Leasing to evaluate options for starting refurbishment of a small number of Class 321s before the end of the short-term franchise;New off-peak weekday Cambridge – Stansted Airport services from July 2014, and enhanced Sunday services on the routes to Sheringham, Sudbury and Lowestoft from 2014-15;New on-line compensation arrangements for season ticket holders;Additional cycle parking spaces, with all stations to have cycle parking by October 2016;A 20% increase in funding for Community Rail Partnerships;Completion of station upgrades at Bishop’s Stortford, Cambridge and Chelmsford. ‘This deal delivers much-needed and very welcome service improvements for passengers who have already experienced the limiting effects of one short-term franchise’, said Abellio UK Managing Director Dominic Booth. ‘The extension also sets the course for future development’, he added. ‘We look forward, therefore, to starting a dialogue with stakeholders soon about the requirements for the long-term franchise, and the investments required to create a rail service that will unlock and support the long-term economic development of this important part of the country.’Abellio has dismissed media reports that it is to end its strategy of bidding for rail operating contracts outside the Netherlands. The company says that it will submit its bid for the ScotRail franchise on April 17, is awaiting the outcome of current bids for the Thameslink, Southern & Great Northern and Essex Thameside franchises, and will ‘continue to assess opportunities in the UK, Sweden and Germany.’