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Court rules on the availability of bankruptcy to foreign individuals


JSC Bank of Moscow v Vladimir Abramovich Kekhman [Judgment 20 February 2015]

In a leading judgment on the availability of English bankruptcy jurisdiction to foreign individuals, Mr Justice Morgan upheld the bankruptcy, on his own application, of Mr Vladimir Kekhman, the head of the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St Petersburg and the former head of a major Russian fruit importation business. 

Mr Kekhman visited London for 2 days, during which a bankruptcy petition was presented on his behalf, and in due course a bankruptcy order was granted by Chief Registrar Baister.  The order was challenged unsuccessfully by Bank of Moscow, before the Chief Registrar and then on appeal to Morgan J.

Key points were that a connection with this jurisdiction existed because of Mr Kekhman’s English law liabilities of £86 million, and there was utility in the bankruptcy order because Mr Kekhman stood to benefit from a discharge of those liabilities, partial rehabilitation, orderly distribution of his assets etc.  At the same time, there was no practical prejudice to any particular set of creditors as against others.  The order did not offend comity with Russia.

The judgment is here.

Michael Swainston QC appeared for Mr Kekhman, instructed by Simmons and Simmons.