What is too much uncertainty?

May 30th 2023

In the case of Bogolyubova v Bogolyubov and Privatbank the Court of Appeal found itself in the unusual position of examining a case where the husband and wife were in agreement.

The husband and wife were Ukrainian nationals and Mr Bogolyubov was estimated to be worth £3.8bn by the time a consent order was submitted to the Court, even though it was accepted that there was some uncertainty over this figure because of the war.

The husband was also being sued by Privatbank, a bank that had been declared insolvent and then nationalized in Ukraine. That court case related to an alleged fraud of enormous proportions and those proceedings had not concluded. The claim against him was for approximately £4.2bn and is due to be determined by the court later this year. Privatbank had been joined as a party and was looking for a stay and opposed the approval of the consent order.

Peel J (“the judge”) determined that it would be both illogical and wrong” to approve the consent order while those proceedings were ongoing, the wife appealed.

The Court of Appeal considered the situation and did not find anything amiss with the judge’s analysis. There was potential for the fraud case to entirely wipe out the asset base. The court here did not need to consider if the wife had been complicit in any fraud, the court simply did not have enough information to decide the case. In those circumstances, adjourning the case made perfect sense. The court was in no way obliged to make an order simply because it had been agreed by the parties.

The wife’s appeal failed. Family lawyers will be looking at the outcome of the fraud case with extra interest.