Ukraine’s Viktor Pinchuk sues rivals in London

UKRAINIAN billionaire industrialist Viktor Pinchuk is suing two of his compatriots in London’s High Court, saying they failed to hand over an iron ore business for which he paid $143m (£94m).

The Krivy Rih Iron Ore Combine is one of Ukraine’s top 10 iron ore producers and made a net profit of about $100m last year.

Pinchuk, a son-in-law of former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma, says he agreed to buy the factory in the city of Krivy Rih from Gennadiy Bogolyubov and Igor Kolomoisky in 2004, according to his claim filed in March.

It says Bogolyubov and Kolomoisky did not transfer the asset to Pinchuk after receiving the money and that the two have since sold a 50-per cent stake in the plant to steelmaking mogul Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest man and one of the key backers of President Viktor Yanukovich.

“Every step of the way, Viktor Pinchuk has fulfilled his part of the bargain but Gennadiy Bogolyubov and Igor Kolomoisky have done exactly the opposite,” a spokesman for Pinchuk said yesterday. “Our attempts to resolve the matter amicably over the years have all failed.”

At the time of the deal, the parties agreed to settle all potential disputes in an English court, and Bogolyubov’s residential address is in England, according to the claim.

A lawyer for Bogolyubov said he would fight the claim.

“Mr Bogolyubov regards the claim as misconceived and we will be vigorously defending it,” said Ian Terry of law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Kolomoisky could not be reached for comment yesterday.