Giambrone's leading international litigation team was instructed by a leading businessman, to appeal the decision of High Court Judge, Mr. Justice Zacaroli, who ruled that the English courts lacked jurisdiction to hear the property developer's £1 billion ($1.38 billion) lawsuit accusing members of a prominent Emirati family of cutting him out of a partnership, bringing claims for conspiracy to defraud, misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty.

It is alledged n 2008, our client was the chairman and 50% shareholder of a £500 million company in Dubai when he received a text message from his business partner whilst he was travelling on behalf of the company, telling him that he would have to sell his interests in the company for a fraction of their value or be sent to prison (for no valid reason). He declined the offer and assumed the jail threat was a "joke". When he went to work the next day, security guards prevented him from entering his place of work.  On returning to his home, the electricity and water had been cut off at his residence.

Our client recognised that the threat of imprisonment was not to be taken lightly, he made the decision to leave Dubai to resolve the issues from safety of London.

The case represents one of the leading cases on cross-border litigation when issues of res judicata (final judgment) of foreign judgments fall to be considered in the courts of England and Wales.

Our client purports that his former partner and six members of her family conspired to misappropriate funds that belonged to the partnership.

The defendants attempted to contend that the matter had already been decided by the courts in Dubai, whereas the High Court has found that the claims have already been rejected overseas in Dubai courts.

A further interesting twist is the discussion about the principle of illegality. The UAE has restrictive laws preventing non-nationals from holding more than a 49% interest in UAE companies and has had similar laws preventing non-nationals from owning land. The 50/50 partnership alleged by the claimant in Dubai, a UK national and our client's former business partner, would have had the effect of circumventing these rules.

The defendants had sought to rely on an illegality defence, contending that the court should not enforce a contract the purpose of which was to breach a foreign law and that the court should treat the contract as void.

The judge carried out a similar balancing approach to that set out by the Supreme Court in Patel v Mirza [2016] UKSC 42 and concluded that our client had the better argument in that the contract had legal consequences in English law.

The extremely proficient litigation team at Giambrone has considerable experience in labyrinthine twists and turns of cross-border litigation and can bring exceptional knowledge of wide-ranging jurisdictions and the laws therein.  Commercial organisations facing a cross-border dispute must ensure that their legal advisors have the capacity to deal with regimes across the globe. Giambrone is able to draw together a multi-disciplinary legal team with the knowledge and capacity of dealing with international disputes involving multiple jurisdictions. 

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