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Yury Babichev

Head of Group, International Arbitration, Cross-Border Litigation, Shareholder Disputes

Yury Babichev focuses on international arbitrations and cross-border litigations. He is experienced in commercial and investment arbitrations, fraud and conspiracy claims, derivative litigations, shareholder disputes, contentious M&A transactions and internal investigations. Yury advised clients on litigations in various jurisdictions, including England, BVI, Bermuda, Cyprus, France and the Netherlands, and arbitral proceedings seated in major arbitration centres such as London, Paris, Stockholm and The Hague. His clients included Russian and foreign companies, individuals and the Russian Federation.

Before joining Goltsblat BLP, Yury worked at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton for ten years. He received an LL.M. degree from Columbia Law School with Harlan Fiske Stone distinction.

Yury is qualified to practice law in the Russian Federation. He is also admitted to the Bar in the State of New York.

Some of Yury’s matters (prior to joining Goltsblat BLP) included:

Arbitrations

  • Represented the Russian Federation in three parallel UNCITRAL arbitrations commenced by former majority shareholders of Yukos Oil Company, alleging unfair treatment and expropriation in violation of the investment provisions of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). With claims totalling more than $100 billion (and final awards of over $50 billion), the arbitrations are thought to be the largest ever in terms of the amount of damages sought. The counsel for the Russian Federation timely petitioned for annulment of the awards based on several grounds. In its judgment issued in April 2016, the District Court of The Hague in the Netherlands accepted the arguments of the Russian Federation’s counsel that the arbitrators lacked jurisdiction over the claimants’ claims and annulled the awards. The claimants appealed this judgment of the District Court of The Hague in July 2016.
  • Represented the Russian Federation in an arbitration under Stockholm Chamber of Commerce rules brought by a minority shareholder of Yukos Oil Company under the terms of the UK-USSR bilateral investment treaty in which the claimant obtained an award that was a small fraction of its claim. The award was then annulled by a Swedish court. 
  • Represented a large Russian oil company in an UNCITRAL arbitration against a sovereign state under a bilateral investment treaty arising out of a forcible raider takeover of a refinery in the host state. The arbitral tribunal rejected all of the respondent’s jurisdictional and admissibility defenses and found the respondent liable for breach of the respondent’s international obligations, awarding over $100 million in damages to the Russian oil company. The award is being challenged in French courts.
  • Represented a CEO of a Russian industrial group acting as a witness in an LCIA arbitration between one of the group’s shareholders and his business partner in another venture. The CEO was cross-examined by the adverse party’s counsel during the arbitral hearing. His testimony proved to be essential for success of the party that presented him as a witness. This arbitration was also complicated by several parallel court proceedings involving the CEO as a defendant.

 Litigations

  • Represented a Kazakh businessman and his associate in a litigation launched in English courts by a group of companies previously owned by the businessman. The claimants allege fraud and breach of fiduciary duties under Kazakh law and claim over $300 million in damages. The claimants also had obtained an ex parte freezing order, which the defendants partially discharged. This litigation is still ongoing.
  • Represented a Kazakh businessman in a litigation launched in English courts by a Kazakh bank. The claimant alleged fraud and dissipation of secured assets located in Russia and claimed over $300 million in damages. The claimant also had obtained an ex parte freezing order, which the defendant succeeded to discharge just in few months on grounds of no good arguable case and material non-disclosures by the claimant. This litigation is virtually over.
  • Represented HMS Group, the leading pump and compressor manufacturer, in a derivative litigation launched in Cypriot courts by the company’s shareholder and former chairman, German Tsoy and his holding company Acura Global Limited. The claimants alleged fraud, conspiracy and breach of fiduciary duties by the company’s executive directors and claimed $300 million in damages. The company’s position in this derivative litigation was decided by its non-defendant non-executive directors, who carefully considered the claimants’ claims and allegations, obtained legal advice from the company’s counsel, and unanimously concluded that the claimants’ claims and allegations are meritless. The claimants also had applied for a freezing order against the defendants, but withdrew their application after seeing the company’s and defendants’ oppositions to the application. Following the exchange of written pleadings on the merits of the case, the claimants completely and unreservedly withdrew their action.
  • Represented HMS Group and its executive directors in a litigation launched by Konstantin Grigorishin and his holding companies in Cypriot courts. The claimants alleged conspiracy by the defendants and claimed $400 million in damages. The claimant had obtained an ex parte freezing order against the defendants. The defendants succeeded to discharge this freezing order just in two months, in unprecedented speed for Cypriot proceedings. This litigation is currently dormant.
  • Represented Rosneft as a third party intervener in a derivative litigation launched by a minority shareholder of TNK-BP Holding in Russian courts against BP. Among other things, the claimant attempted to obtain commercially sensitive documents of Rosneft. The claimant had succeeded to obtain a judgment from the first instance court partially granting his claim and ordering BP to pay to TNK-BP Holding approximately $4 billion in damages, but subsequently withdrew his claim following the announcement of the acquisition of TNK-BP by Rosneft.
  • Advised Weather Investments, an investment company of Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris, in a litigation launched in Russia by the Federal Antimonopoly Service. The claimant alleged violation of the Russian Foreign Strategic Investments Law and attempted to unwind the share purchase and option agreements entered between Weather Investments and Telenor regarding shares in VimpelCom. The Federal Antimonopoly Service subsequently withdrew its claim following the sale by Weather Investments of its remaining shareholding in VimpelCom to Altimo. This litigation was also complicated by parallel court proceedings launched by Altimo against Telenor in Bermuda courts.
  • Represented a Russian industrial group in a litigation launched by one of its GDR holders in Cypriot courts. The claimant had attempted to obtain a wide discovery of commercially sensitive documents, but withdrew his claim after seeing the defendant’s opposition.
  • Represented one of the largest Russian retail chains in a litigation launched by its former CEO in BVI courts. The claimant alleged that he had been granted stock options and claimed specific performance or, in the alternative, several million US dollars in damages. Represented a Russian businessman and a real estate development company in settlement negotiations with one of the largest real estate groups in Russia regarding several parallel proceedings in Russian courts related to construction projects in Moscow. The parties entered into an English law governed settlement agreement to their mutual satisfaction.
  • Represented a Russian individual defendant in parallel civil and criminal defamation proceedings before Russian courts. In the criminal proceedings the trail court issued a non-guilty verdict, while in the civil proceedings the trial court issued a judgement against the defendant. Both parties appealed against respective court rulings, but shortly settled their dispute.

Internal Investigations

  • Advised a European holding company in an internal investigation at its Russian subsidiary in connection with suspected corruption and other unethical practices.
  • Advised a US holding company in an internal investigation at its Russian subsidiary in connection with an alleged sexual harassment.
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