Mr Gorbachev’s detailed Particulars of Claim were filed at the English High Court in February 2020, and can be viewed here. A six-week trial has now been scheduled to begin at the UK court on January 23, 2023.
Mr Gorbachev alleges that Mr Guriev reneged on an agreement to hold a 24.75% stake in PhosAgro after they had built the business in the 1990s and early 2000s.
The stake is worth around USD 1.8 billion (GBP 1.3 billion, RUB 137 billion) based on May 2021 market values. Mr Gorbachev is also suing for what he claims is his rightful share of dividends distributed by the company since it became a publicly-listed company in 2011. This increases the value of his claim by at least an additional USD 1 billion / GBP 730 million / RUB 72 billion, based on May 2021 values.
Mr Guriev, who is reported to be worth USD 4.3 billion and owns London’s biggest private home, Witanhurst, held Mr Gorbachev’s shares in trust, but is alleged to have unlawfully taken possession of them.
While Mr Gorbachev was living in England from 2004, Mr Guriev initially provided the bonuses and financial backing that was due to him as a beneficial owner of PhosAgro.
However, Mr Guriev later cut off contact with Mr Gorbachev and did not arrange for him to receive his due shares following PhosAgro’s stock market flotation in 2011.
Mr Guriev remains PhosAgro’s biggest shareholder through family members and other entities. He was served with legal papers while shopping in Mayfair in October 2018. Men who appeared to be his bodyguards tried to physically shield him from the paperwork, as depicted in the video elsewhere on this website.
The lawsuit could have far-reaching implications for PhosAgro, its ownership and its governance. PhosAgro’s other shareholders include numerous international institutions.
Mr Gorbachev is represented in the case by CMS LLP, London.