A Russian woman whose husband is said to be on “the Kremlin’s most-wanted list” must pay more than £160,000 after being sued by a company that installed fountains and garden lights at her “£22 million” home in Surrey, a judge has ruled.
GSL Installations said Elsina Khayrova owed more than £240,000 for work done at the house in Virginia Water. Ms Khayrova, who is married to Dmitry Tsvetkov, disputed the claim.
Deputy High Court Judge Adam Vaitilingam has ruled that she owes GSL £117,000 for work done.
He also ruled that she should pick up nearly £50,000 worth of lawyers’ bills run up by GSL. The judge ruled there had been an agreement between GSL and Ms Khayrova.
But he said a generator and a phase of a power supply had not yet been installed – and concluded that she should not have to pay those costs.
The judge had overseen a High Court trial in London on Thursday and delivered a ruling on Friday.
He had been told Ms Khayrova was the daughter of a former Russian politician and had paid £22m for the house.
Ms Khayrova was not at the trial and was not represented by lawyers.
The judge was told she said she had health problems.
Barrister Alastair Panton, who represented GSL, had told the judge that £241,272 was owed for work at Ms Khayrova’s “extremely large house”.
He said the company had done business with Ms Khayrova and her husband for about a decade, at “various properties” in the UK and Cyprus.
Bills had been paid for work at a flat in Knightsbridge, London, and other work at the house in Surrey, he said, but a bill for fountains and garden lights and the improvement of an electricity supply had not been fully paid.
Mr Panton said Ms Khayrova and her husband were in the process of getting divorced. He said bills had previously been paid by Ms Khayrova, not her husband.
“The defendant gives a reason for this,” said Mr Panton in a written case outline.
“Apparently her husband is on the Kremlin’s most-wanted list.”Barrister Alastair Panton
He added: “Apparently his life is in danger.”
Ms Khayrova had argued, in a written defence, that work carried out had been requested by her husband, not her.
Judge Vaitilingam said in his ruling that GSL was a specialist lighting company owned by Gurdeep Lota.
Lawyers representing GSL said Mr Lota had a longstanding business relationship with Ms Khayrova and Mr Tsvetkov.
“He has installed lighting and entertainment systems in various properties of theirs in London and abroad since about 2012,” said the judge.
“This included flats in Knightsbridge, where he installed what is known as a Crestron system.
“He describes it the Rolls Royce of centrally-controlled systems, a centralized automation system for lighting and entertainment that can be controlled from a smart phone.”
He said in 2018 Mr Lota had installed a Crestron system inside the Surrey house, bought in January 2018 for £22 million.
Further works, described as “complicated” by Mr Lota, had been requested in 2019 – particularly to extend the lighting into the garden, said the judge.
“Mr Lota says that the items on the disputed invoice were all installed by him between about April and October 2020, save for two items – a generator and a three-phase power supply, which have not been installed as the suppliers will not provide them without advance payment,” said the judge.
“Mr Lota says that the driving force for these works was the defendant, who told him generally what she wanted in terms of overall concept… and specifically in terms of items that appear on the invoice, such as a Samsung television, a Galaxy table-top stand and particular roller blinds.”
Payments of about £13,000, £26,000, and £36,000 had been made – leaving £241,000 outstanding.
Mr Lota said two payments were made by Ms Khayrova and one by Mr Tsvetkov, added the judge.
Ms Khayrova had said she “didn’t order any Crestron-based lighting and communication systems for the house”.
She said everything she had agreed to had been “paid in full”.
The judge added: “In short, she says if the works have been carried out then it was at the request of her husband and it is he who should therefore pay for them.”
But the judge concluded there had been an agreement between GSL and Ms Khayrova.
He said Mr Tsvetkov, who was not an owner of the house, had also been involved in discussions.
The judge said he was satisfied items listed on an invoice had been installed – apart from a “generator and the phase three power supply”.
He said: “Save for those two items then, I am satisfied that there was an agreement between the claimant and the defendant for the installation of a lighting and communication system at the house and garden… and that the outstanding invoice reflects work done pursuant to that agreement.
“There is no reason why the defendant should not have to pay the outstanding sum.”
He said Mr Lota was not obliged to pay suppliers for the “generator and the phase three power supply” and therefore Ms Khayrova should not have to pay.
The judge said he had deducted £124,000 from the invoice to cater for the generator and power supply, leaving a total of £117,188.61 that was “owed by the defendant to the claimant”.