Commercial Court rejects bid for interim relief by entity said to be owned or controlled by sanctioned persons
On 3 November 2023 Mr Justice Butcher dismissed an application for interim relief brought against ING Bank and Société Générale by the fertiliser producer Eurochem. The banks had issued performance bonds in Eurochem’s favour in connection with a project for the design and construction of a fertiliser plant in Russia. They declined payment of the bonds on the basis that Eurochem is ultimately owned or controlled by Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko, a Russian entrepreneur who was designated under Council Regulation (EU) 269/2014 on 9 March 2022.
Butcher J held that there was no jurisdiction to award an interim payment under CPR r.25.1(1)(k) in circumstances where the Court could not be satisfied that if the claim went to trial Eurochem would obtain judgment. The banks had pleaded a defence based on the principle in Ralli Bros v Compania Naviera  2 KB 287 and no application for summary judgment or to strike out that defence had been made. The decision of the Court of Appeal in Mints  EWCA Civ 1132 provided no support for Eurochem’s position in circumstances where the subsistence of sanctions was said to give rise to a substantive defence to the claims brought.
Butcher J also dismissed Eurochem’s alternative applications under CPR r. 25.1(1)(c) and (l) in circumstances where funds had not been ringfenced by the banks, and its application for an interim injunction on ordinary American Cyanamid principles.
Camilla Bingham KC represented ING Bank N.V instructed by Clifford Chance LLP. A copy of Butcher J’s judgment can be found below.View Judgment