On 30th July, Bird & Bird published an article explaining that the UK High Court has refused a proposed amendment to a worldwide freezing order that, if allowed, would prevent the defendant from disclosing all of its assets – to do so would risk the asset-freezing regime becoming a “cherry-picker’s charter“.  In the case, a producer of crude oil located in Tatarstan, Russia was pursuing a claim against 4 Ukrainian businessmen alleging the defendants were involved in a fraud to divert payments for oil supplied.  A worldwide freezing order under which each defendant was required to disclose all of their worldwide assets exceeding £10,000.  One of the defendants applied to the court for an order varying the worldwide freezing order to provide that the asset list comprised the full disclosure of his assets, and he would not be required to provide any further details of assets in excess of the value of the claim.  He argued that to disclose assets above the total value of the claim was unnecessary, and would cause him prejudice, as he alleged that the claim against him politically motivated and could result in unlawful expropriation by the Russian government.  However, it appears that the High Court’s overriding concern was that allowing the application would place the freezing order in the hands of the defendant and allow them to “cherry pick” which assets they were prepared to disclose.  Furthermore, limiting the level of disclosure would not take account of possible future fluctuations in value which might undermine the effect and usefulness of the order.  The article says that the judgment confirmed that the default position remains that a party subject to a freezing injunction remains obliged to provide full disclosure of all of its assets, regardless of the amount of the claim pursued.

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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