The High Court of England and Wales has ruled that the defence provided by the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio (LAP) against a case brought against it by Catalyst Managerial Services (CMS) was “fanciful”.
The Court awarded damages of more than US$15,000,000 to CMS. This judgment forms part of CMS’ wider case against LAP for breach of contract. In total, CMS claims more than US$525,000,000 in damages, interest and legal fees.
CMS, a specialist management services company based in Dubai, brought a claim against LAP for unpaid project fees, expenses and damages relating to a five-year services contract that was commenced in Tripoli in 2009. LAP is a multi-billion dollar investment enterprise and wholly owned subsidiary of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA).
The case was decided by way of summary judgment. The judge found that LAP had no evidential basis for its defence and therefore it was not necessary to have a full trial since LAP had no real prospect of defending the claim on any factual basis.
In his judgment, Master Kay Q.C. stated that LAP, “ha[d] failed to provide any evidential basis of substance for supporting a defence to the claim for the outstanding payments and that any such attempt to defend its position must be considered to be fanciful”.
He continued, “[T]hese circumstances lead [me] to the conclusion that [LAP] has no real prospect of defending the claim on any factual basis”.
He also said, “It is difficult to comprehend how it can do so at some time in the future”. Later on, he concluded, “In my judgment, a very significant feature of this case is that the defendant has failed to provide any evidential basis of substance for supporting a defence”.
Courtenay Barklem, CMS' lead solicitor and a Partner at McCue & Partners LLP, stated:
“This is an important step towards CMS' final victory against LAP. The judge could not have been clearer: LAP did not have a leg to stand on”.
Zia Qureshi, Chief Executive Officer of CMS, said:
“LAP could not find any evidence to support its defence because none exists”.
“I am absolutely thrilled by today’s judgment. After a five-year struggle against LAP, I finally feel that our position has been fully vindicated.
"There is still the question of damages that are both real and substantial and have been caused as a result of LAP’s actions and continued refusal to cooperate to resolve this dispute amicably”.
Mr Qureshi further commented:
“We experienced problems with LAP from the outset. Our dispute started six months prior to the Libyan Revolution.
"Our fees were not paid, our office was closed down and, worst of all, my staff and I were seriously threatened and intimidated. This threatening behaviour continued post-Revolution”.
(Court image via Shutterstock)