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Denuo represents Kaproben Handels in a landmark case arising out of a transhipment contract

press releases
04 / 12 / 2023
In 2021, Kaproben Handels, a Swiss coal trader, was in a dispute with OTEKO-Portservice, a major transhipment operator in Russia’s Taman seaport, over the unilateral termination by Kaproben Handels of a USD315 million transhipment contract. On 16 August 2021, the Judicial Collegium for Economic Disputes of the Russian Supreme Court upheld Kaproben Handels’ position and ruled that the unilateral termination of the contract was valid and lawful. This ruling was widely publicised in the media and the Russian legal community.

In May 2022, OTEKO-Portservice filed another lawsuit against Kaproben Handels, seeking to recover a termination fee in excess of USD300 million. The Denuo team successfully defended Kaproben Handels’ interests in the court of first instance and in the court of appeals. On 30 November 2023, the Ninth Arbitrazh Court of Appeals upheld Kaproben Handels’ position and supported the ruling of the Moscow Arbitrazh Court of 1 September 2023 dismissing OTEKO-Portservice’s claims in full.

This dispute is notable not only for the substantial amount of the claims, but also because it involved multiple complex legal and factual issues that required months of work with external experts and the collection and analysis of a large volume of evidence.

The Denuo team was led by Moscow-based Dispute Resolution counsel Alina Kudryavtseva and supported by associate Igor Klushin.

The OTEKO-Portservice’s vs Kaproben Handels case is one of the largest contractual disputes in Russia in the past few years and has been in the centre of attention from both traders and port operators using “take or pay” contracts. They are equally interested in seeing the most balanced approach to issues arising upon termination of such contracts being formed by the court practice.

Alina Kudryavtseva
Alina KudryavtsevaCounsel