(Reuters) – A U.S. aviation executive has been given the green light to file further legal action in a London court against an Emirati sovereign wealth fund based on new evidence he says shows a judgment against he was the product of “huge fraud on the pitch.
Farhad Azima was granted permission on Tuesday to bring a second legal action in the High Court in London against the Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA), which initially sued Azima in 2016 over two botched business deals.
The lawsuit came shortly after his emails were hacked and published online. He says RAKIA ordered his emails hacked to discredit him and that retired lawyer Neil Gerrard – a former partner in Dechert’s London office, who previously represented RAKIA – and former RAKIA executive James Buchanan lied in court about it during a trial in 2020.
Azima argues that a judge’s findings that he engaged in “grossly fraudulent conduct” towards RAKIA should be overturned as they are the result of “widespread fraud in court”.
Judge Michael Green ruled on Tuesday that Azima could file the additional lawsuit, saying he had “a real prospect of showing that the alleged fraud and conspiracy between key RAKIA witnesses to mislead the court is material” to the findings against him.
RAKIA is no longer involved in the litigation, having offered in June to settle Azima’s original counterclaim that the fund was responsible for the hacking of its emails. He denied any involvement in the hacking of Azima’s emails.
RAKIA could not be reached for comment.
Azima’s original counterclaim — which is due to be heard in 2024 — is also filed against Dechert, Gerrard and Buchanan. They were not parties to the additional lawsuit, but objected to Azima being allowed to bring it.
A spokesperson for Dechert said, “We will seek permission to appeal this decision and continue to defend Mr. Azima’s claims.” Gerrard and Buchanan deny the allegations against them.
A spokesman for Azima said he was “satisfied” with the decision.
Tuesday’s decision marks the latest chapter in a long-running dispute involving RAKIA and Azima, who last month filed a separate $100 million lawsuit in New York against Dechert, Gerrard, Dechert’s former partner David Hughes and many others.
The case is Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority v Azima, HC-2016-002798.
For Azima: Thomas Plewman KC, Frederick Wilmot-Smith and Sophie Bird of Brick Court Chambers and Burlingtons Legal.
For RAKIA: no appearance.
For Dechert: Roger Masefield KC and Laura Newton of Brick Court Chambers, Robert Harris of One Essex Court and Enyo Law.
For Gerrard: Fionn Pillbrow KC of Brick Court Chambers and Charles Fussell & Co.
For Buchanan: Antony White KC and Ben Silverstone of Matrix Chambers, and Kingsley Napley.
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