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Russian businessman Mints cannot pause $850 mln fraud case over sanctions: UK court

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The High Court in London ruled on Friday that a prominent Russian businessman could not pause an $850 million fraud lawsuit brought by two Russian banks because of British sanctions.

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Boris Mints and his sons Dmitry, Alexander and Igor are being sued by National Bank Trust, which is 99 percent owned by the Central Bank of Russia, on behalf of Bank Otkritie, once Russia’s largest private lender before it collapsed in 2017.

Lawyers representing the Mints family – who deny the banks’ fraud allegations – say the lawsuit should be indefinitely put on hold because, if the banks win at trial, any damages could not be paid as Bank Otkritie is under British sanctions.

At a hearing in December, Judge Sara Cockerill was told by lawyers for Dmitry and Alexander Mints that any money recovered could be used to “indirectly fund the war in Ukraine.”

However, Cockerill dismissed Mints’ application on Friday.

The judge said her written ruling containing her reasons for refusing to pause the case would be published on Friday afternoon.

She also granted permission to appeal against her decision to both the Mints family and the banks, saying: “It is plainly a case with far wider implications.”

The Mints’ unsuccessful application to put the lawsuit on hold – which will now be considered by the Court of Appeal – represents one of the first legal tests of Britain’s sanctions regime in relation to Russia.

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