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In this unusual Commercial Court action, Mr Ridley sought an injunction requiring the Bank to take steps to procure his release from prison in Dubai. He is presently serving a sentence of 20 years, having already served a 10 year sentence in connection with a $550 million fraud on the Bank. Mr Ridley’s case was that his additional 20 year sentence came about as the result of an impermissible request by the Bank made pursuant to Dubai Law No.37 of 2009. The request was said to be impermissible because it was made in breach of a Restructuring Agreement (“RSA”) that had been concluded by Mr Ridley and others with the Bank in 2007 in order to “settle” the fraud. The RSA was governed by English law and subject to an English jurisdiction clause.

A trial took place in the Commercial Court in February 2022. The two principal issues at trial were (i) was the Bank’s request under Law 37 prohibited by the terms of the RSA, and (ii) were the proceedings in Dubai pursuant to Law 37 civil or criminal in nature? The Court heard expert evidence as to Dubai law. In a judgment handed down on 22 July 2022, the Court found in favour of the Bank on both issues. In particular, it found that (i) the fine and compensation orders imposed by the Dubai Criminal Courts reflected the sums due under the RSA, and therefore the Bank’s Law 37 Request did not offend the terms of the RSA; and (ii) the Law 37 proceedings in Dubai were criminal in nature, and therefore did not represent a new civil claim brought by the Bank in breach of the terms of the RSA.

Robert Anderson QC acted for the Bank.

Please find a copy of the judgment here.

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