Judgement awaited

A London high court appeal hearing into Russian shipowner Yuri Nikitin’s fraudulent charter deals with SCF Group-owned Novoship has ended with no decision.

Judgement has been reserved in the appeal, in which Nikitin is trying to overturn a December 2012 ruling ordering him, ex-Novoship general manager Vladimir Mikhaylyuk and Venezuelan shipowner Wilmer Ruperti to pay the Russian state company $169m.

No date has been set for a judgement to be handed down.

At the start of the two-week hearing, it was revealed that Ruperti had switched sides to give evidence for Novoship, after reaching an agreement on the $59.21m he owed.

The Venezuelan had previously blamed the freezing of his financial assets by the US for a lack of funds.

In its original case, Novoship claimed Mikhaylyuk and Nikitin had solicited and received bribes paid by Ruperti in respect of introductions for vessel charters.