A legal dispute which has raged for more than four years over the estate of billionaire Arkady “Badri” Patarkatsishvili has ended with a decisive victory for his former business partner.
The ruling by the Court of Appeal in London brings to an end a bitter dispute between Patarkatsishvili’s widow and daughters and the tycoon’s former business partner, Vano Chkhartishvili.
“We have won all trials against the family both in Georgia and abroad,” said Mr Chkhartishvili. “I hope that after this decision of the court, the family will show the willpower to bring apologies for discrediting me, blackmailing me and staging a defamatory media campaign against me over the past four years.
“Our society should know that an organised group of lurchers and perjurers stuck to the Patarkatsishvili’s family, were staging blackmails and psychological terror against me and they will certainly receive due response.”
Badri Patarkatsishvili died at his home in England suddenly in 2008 aged just 52. His family first launched legal action in 2012 claiming that he had owned shares in a company which controlled the valuable Black Sea terminal of Kulevi. They said these shares had been held in trust by Mr Chkhartishvili.
However a statement released by Mr Chkhartishvili’s lawyers revealed that the family had later admitted that they did not own these shares but by then the legal wrangle had spread.
On December 9 the Court of Appeal in London finally put a stop to the dispute which by then centred on assets which the Patarkatsishvili family claimed were worth $40 million.
It was the last throw of the dice for the family and followed a similar ruling by the Court of Appeal in Georgia which also ruled in Chkhartishvili’s favour in October.
The case might have finished sooner had it not been for an earlier judgement in the High Court in London by a controversial judge.
Mr Justice Peter Smith allowed the action by the Patarkatsishvili family which has now been overturned. The judge is currently under investigation over behavior described by as “shocking and disgraceful”.
One of the most senior judges in England, Lord Dyson, former Master of the Rolls, said that Mr Justice Smith’s behavior in a case involving the “secret wife” of a Saudi prince showed a “fundamental lack of understanding of the proper role of a judge”.
The judge is being investigated by the Judicial Conduct and Investigations Office, the judges’ disciplinary watchdog, and he may never practice in the courts in England again. A recent article in The Times in London said that he has been signed off sick and is understood to be mentally unfit to defend himself in a disciplinary inquiry.
A statement issued by Chkhartishvili’s lawyers in London said: “The Court of Appeal has allowed Mr Chkhartishvili’s appeal and dismissed the action.
“This follows Mr Chkhartishvili’s victory in October in the Court of Appeal in Georgia in proceedings involving the same parties, and largely the same issues, and the estate of Mr Patarkatsishvili.”