Yury Babichev

Counsel, 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, Malta, Turkey, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands, and arbitral proceedings seated in major arbitration centres such as London, Paris, Stockholm, Hong Kong and The Hague. 

Yury’s clients included major Russian and foreign companies, individuals and the Russian Federation.

Before joining Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (Russia) LLP (formerly Goltsblat BLP), Yury worked at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton for ten years. 

Yury received an LL.M. degree from Columbia Law School with Harlan Fiske Stone distinction in 2010. He also graduated from Moscow State University Law School with honours in 2007. 

Yury was named a winner of the 2016-2019 RAA40 Awards Top-10 arbitration practitioners under 40.

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

Arbitrations

  • Acting for RusHydro in a UNCITRAL arbitration against the Kyrgyz Government over reimbursement of RusHydro’s costs of $37 million incurred in connection with the project for construction of the Upper-Naryn hydroelectric power plant cascade in Kyrgyzstan. 
  • Acting for a major Russian bank in a LCIA arbitration against a Maltese holding company under an English law governed guarantee in relation to several Russian law governed loans provided to Russian subsidiaries of the Maltese guarantor. Despite multiple defences invoked by the respondent, including forged signature of the respondent’s chairman, the   LCIA tribunal granted the bank’s claims and ordered the respondent to pay over $260 million. The bank is now pursuing recognition of the award in Malta and a veil piercing claim against the sole shareholder of the respondent in the Maltese court. 
  • Acting for Coral Energy, an oil trading company registered in Singapore, in a ICAC arbitration seated in Moscow against Kaspy-1 refinery in Dagestan that failed to supply pre-payed petroleum products. The sole arbitrator granted the Coral Energy’s claim for debt and damages in full, including full reimbursement of its legal costs. The arbitral award has been confirmed by the commercial court of Dagestan, and Coral Energy is now pursuing bankruptcy proceedings against the refinery and fighting against its other creditors, including Rosneft and Russian Agricultural Bank.
  • Advising a Swedish company in the ongoing controversy with a Russian partner in their gold-mining JV in Russia. 
  • Advised a Cypriot holding company for a high-tech industry enterprise in a dispute with its lender that attempted to exercise its conversion right under the convertible loan agreement and obtain shares in the company.    
  • Acted for a venture capital fund in a LCIA arbitration launched by the majority shareholder of the IT start-up company. The dispute arose from a purported deadlock and purportedly triggered Russian Roulette. Following the opposed joinder of other shareholders into the arbitration and successful defeat of their interim application, the fund has received a favourable offer from other shareholders to buy out its stake, and the arbitration has been settled to mutual satisfaction of all parties. 
  • Acted for a venture capital fund in a LCIA arbitration launched by the majority shareholder of the IT start-up company. The dispute arose from a purported deadlock and purportedly triggered Russian Roulette. Following the opposed joinder of other shareholders into the arbitration and successful defeat of their interim application, the fund has received a favourable offer from other shareholders to buy out its stake, and the arbitration has been settled to mutual satisfaction of all parties. 
  • Acted for a Cypriot holding company for the Russian poultry business in a SCC arbitration launched by the former general director of the Russian subsidiary based on the not fully signed settlement deed governed by English law. The sole arbitrator fully dismissed all claims against our client.
  • Acted for a large Russian bank in a joint-venture dispute with the founder of the failed fin-tech start-up company. Following several rounds of pre-action correspondence and board meeting, the founder has agreed to partially reimburse the bank’s sunk costs.   
  • Advised a large Russian IT company in a dispute with its Italian subcontractor arising from a failed project to develop a payment system for the Russian Central Bank.
  • Advised a private equity fund on the settlement of the pending LCIA arbitration with the founding shareholder of the fund’s portfolio company.
  • Advised a private equity fund on the out-of-court settlement of the claim by the provider of certain IT solutions to the fund. 
  • Advised a controlling shareholder of the IT business in the ongoing dispute with certain minority shareholders and out-of-court settlement at the pre-arbitration stage. The matter involves indirect share transfer in the holding company in breach of the share transfer restrictions.
  • Acted for 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 (prior to joining Goltsblat BLP). 
  • Acted for 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 (prior to joining Goltsblat BLP). 
  • Acted for Tatneft in an UNCITRAL arbitration against Ukraine under its bilateral investment treaty with Russia arising out of a forcible raider takeover of Kremenchug refinery in Poltava region. The arbitral tribunal rejected all of the respondent’s jurisdictional and admissibility defences and found the respondent liable for breach of the respondent’s international obligations, awarding over $100 million in damages to the Russian oil company. This was the first-ever arbitral award enforced in Russia against another sovereign state.
  • Advised 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 (prior to joining Goltsblat BLP). 

Litigations

  • Advising a defendant Irish holding company and its Russian director in the pending proceedings in Irish courts. Plaintiffs allege conspiracy against several defendants aimed to strip-off the plaintiffs and their controlling shareholders of their shareholdings in a large Russian factory.   
  • Advising a major Russian bank on potential enforcement of Swiss and Cypriot law governed share pledge agreements and other security documents in relation to $3 billion Russian loan facilities. 
  • Acting for a BVI company and its Russian beneficial shareholders in successful recognition and enforcement of the multi-million LCIA award against a New York corporation in the Supreme Court of the State of New York and subsequent veil piercing claim against the corporation’s sole shareholder. The dispute arises from an unsecured English law governed loan agreement. The shareholder extracted virtually all money from the corporation, however, following extensive post-judgement discovery and the shareholder’s deposition, he acknowledged his personal liability for the unrepaid loan. The BVI company subsequently obtained a judgement against the shareholder, who has recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in New York.
  • Acted for a US subsidiary of a Russian metallurgical company in two parallel proceedings in Texas state courts launched by its US customer alleging breach of contract, breach of warranty, fraudulent inducement and fraud. Both proceedings were settled. 
  • Acted for a Russian bank in the $200 million fraud and conspiracy claim in Cyprus against a number of defendants. The Limassol District Court fully granted the bank’s application and issued the requested injunction to search the premises, servers, laptops and mobile devices of the defendants, including Cypriot lawyers. The Anton Piller type search orders is a draconian measure that can be issued by English and Cypriot courts, but in extremely rare cases when there is a real risk that defendants would destroy incriminating evidence. The search order was also accompanied by the document disclosure order and the gagging order prohibiting the defendants from communicating among each other and third parties in relation to the case.
  • Acted for a minority shareholder of a Russian gold mining company in a shareholder dispute with several other shareholders and the company’s general director. Following several document requests aimed to investigate asset-stripping transactions by the general director and his associates, the minority shareholder received a lucrative buyout offer that he accepted.  
  • Acted for a minority shareholder of a Russian company in a derivative action in the Moscow Commercial Court against the general director and the controlling shareholder of the company. The minority shareholder claimed damages from the director and the controlling shareholder who damaged the company through cash siphoning transactions and usurpation of corporate opportunity through a parallel entity established by the controlling shareholder. The controlling shareholder subsequently bought out the claimant’s interest in the company at favourable price and the litigation was settled. 
  • Advised a Russian business group and its controlling shareholder on parallel litigations pending in Cypriot courts. The dispute arises from a share purchase agreement in relation to shares in the Cypriot holding company and related personal guarantee by the controlling shareholder.
  • Acted for a major Russian bank in the appellate proceedings at the Bryansk Regional Court. The dispute arose from a Russian law governed revolving credit facility agreement and related security documentation. Despite the unfavourable judgment of the first instance court issued prior to our engagement, BCLP team succeeded to set aside this judgment and get the bank’s claim granted by the appellate court. 
  • Advised an international EPC company on its joint venture dispute with a Russian partner. The matter involves allegations of breach of the non-compete undertaking and alleged breach of fiduciary duties by our client’s nominees on the board of the joint venture company. 
  • Advised an aerospace company on its dispute with one of its minority shareholders. The dispute was over the abuse of veto rights by the minority shareholder leading to the company’s potential insolvency. 
  • Acted for 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 (prior to joining Goltsblat BLP). 
  • Acted for 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 (prior to joining Goltsblat BLP). 
  • Acted for 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 (prior to joining Goltsblat BLP). 
  • Acted for 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 (prior to joining Goltsblat BLP). 
  • Acted for 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 (prior to joining Goltsblat BLP). 
  • 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 (prior to joining Goltsblat BLP). 
  • Acted for 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 (prior to joining Goltsblat BLP). 
  • Acted for 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. 
  • Acted for 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 (prior to joining Goltsblat BLP). 
  • Acted for 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 (prior to joining Goltsblat BLP). 

Internal Investigations

  • Advised a European holding company in an internal investigation at its Russian subsidiary in connection with suspected corruption and other unethical practices (prior to joining Goltsblat BLP). 
  • Advised a US holding company in an internal investigation at its Russian subsidiary in connection with an alleged sexual harassment (prior to joining Goltsblat BLP).