Cross-Examination on Asset Disclosure under Worldwide Freezing Orders
Daniel Saoul QC acts for the Claimants in successful and rare application in Kazakhstan Kagazy v Arip  EWHC 1693 (Comm).
On 27 June 2019 Mr Justice Jacobs handed down Judgment in this ongoing heavyweight commercial fraud matter, in which he granted the Claimants’ application against one of the Defendants, requiring them to attend court to be cross-examined on asset disclosure they had given pursuant to a Worldwide Freezing Order. As the authorities make clear, such orders will only be granted exceptionally, where there is evidence that the respondent to the freezing order is guilty of serious failures in relation to their asset disclosure.
The underlying claim relates to a massive fraud perpetrated by several of the Defendants on the Claimants’ corporate group. The main claim resulted in a Judgment for just under US$300million in the Claimants’ favour, following a 13 week trial in 2017 before Mr Justice Picken. The matter is now at the enforcement stage, and the Claimants have issued, amongst other things, an application under Section 51 of the Senior Courts Act 1981 for an Order that the wife (W) of one of the fraudsters, to whom a substantial amount of assets were transferred, and who paid the majority of his legal fees up to and including trial, should pay the Claimants’ costs of the action. In support of that Section 51 application the Claimants obtained a Worldwide Freezing Order, which in the usual way required W to give disclosure of her assets.
Following several rounds of applications in which the Claimants asserted that W had failed properly to comply with her asset disclosure obligations, the Claimants applied for the exceptional remedy of cross-examination, in accordance with the principles set down in Jenington International Inc v Assaubayev  EWHC 2351 (Ch). After hearing full argument, Jacobs J delivered Judgment on 27 June 2019 in favour of the Claimants, ordering W to attend for cross-examination, which then took place on 15 and 16 July 2019. Arguments in relation to the Section 51 application were heard on 23 July 2019 with Judgment reserved.
Daniel Saoul QC is a leading commercial barrister. He has substantial experience of matters involving civil fraud, as well as a range of other areas. He took silk in 2019, with The Lawyer identifying him as one of the leading practitioners being appointed that year. For further information please see Dan’s page here or contact the clerks.