By John Helmer in Moscow
Herbies beats aluminium into profit shares
Herbert Smith, one of the largest billing of the UK law firms, has been forced to reveal this month in the UK High Court that it is charging the Tajikistan government more than $100 million for a 3-year court claim ordered by the Tajik President, Imomali Rakhmonov (Rahmon). Rahmon’s targets are a group of aluminium traders and managers, now based in London, who were ousted from the Tajikistan Aluminium Plant (TadAZ, Talco) after getting too close to the president’s interest in Tajikistan’s principal industry.
The fee numbers and estimates were part of the disclosures that were tabled in a High Court hearing on April 15, 2008, before Mr Justice Tomlinson. Herbert Smith is the law firm acting for the Tajik smelter (Talco), which is wholly owned by the Tajikistan government, and directly supervised by President Rahmon. The estimate of costs from Herbert Smith (aka Herbies in London legal slang) also covers barristers’ fees, which include those of Murray Rosen QC, who is acting for Talco on Herbies’ instructions.
Additional case fee charges of GBP10 million ($20 million) have also been revealed. These are being run up by a British Virgin Islands registered company called CDH, which is a cutout in the complex aluminium trading arrangements devised by Rahmon’s government between Talco and its Norwegian supplier and partner, Hydro Aluminium. CDH is being represented in the High Court by Osborne Clarke.