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A Half-A-Decade Long Legal Battle Ends in Arbitration Award of over $14 Million

Michael J. Smikun, of Callagy Law, recently confirmed an Arbitration Award of over $14,000,000.00 stemming from an Arbitration in the London Court of International Arbitration (“LCIA”)

The Arbitration arises out of a long-term friendship between two business owners. Alex Spiegel, the owner of Defendants Mazlin and Shireen, had over the course of 25 years lent approximately $40 million to companies controlled by his longtime friend Respondent Yuri Drukker, including Plaintiffs WJ Holding and Stubrick. In or around 2011, Mr. Drukker – who solely owned WJ Holding – sought to invest in a vegetable oil production facility in the Transdniestrian region of Moldova. Mr. Drukker, in need of money, approached Mr. Spiegel for financing.

To achieve this end, two Loan Agreements were entered into. Pursuant to the Loan Agreements, Mazlin lent millions of dollars to WJ Holdings and Stubrick. These monies were never paid back as Yuri Drukker claimed they were failed equity investments and Alex Spiegel claimed they were loans. Eventually, the London Court of International Arbitration agreed with Alex Spiegel and entered the above-mentioned Arbitration Award in his favor.

However, even after the Arbitration Awards were entered, this was only the start of the legal battle between Alex Spiegel and Yuri Drukker. While the LCIA Arbitration was ongoing, Yuri Drukker started a parallel lawsuit in New York Supreme Court to try and end-run around the inevitable result of the LCIA. Moreover, because the lawsuit had started before the LCIA had rendered any decision, Yuri Drukker was able to survive a Motion to Dismiss based on quasi res judicata grounds.

Years passed but eventually the LCIA rendered their decision and Alex Spiegel was finally able to seek to confirm his Arbitration Awards and have Yuri Drukker’s parallel lawsuit dismissed. Even then, Yuri Drukker did not make an easy.

In regards to the Motion to Dismiss on res judicata grounds, Yuri Drukker opposed the Motion to Dismiss (which he lost), then brought a Motion to Reconsider (which he lost), and is still seeking to appeal that decision.

In regards to the Motion to Confirm, Alex Spiegel originally brought the Motion to Confirm in the S.D.N.Y. but Yuri Drukker successfully argued that it should have been brought in the E.D.N.Y. Then after transferring the case to the E.D.N.Y., Yuri Drukker sought to argue that the Court did not have exclusive jurisdiction to confirm the Awards and the Motion to Confirm should be heard in the State Court. After waiting for eighteen months (18) in large part due to the COVID-19 Pandemic Outbreak, the E.D.N.Y. again agreed with Yuri Drukker that State Court could also confirm the award and because it was further along in its proceeding, it would defer to the State Court.

Then, incredulously, once the confirmation motion was in the State Court, Yuri Drukker argued that the time to confirm the Award had passed.

Both Parties briefed these issues and then after a nearly half-a-decade legal battle in the myriad of legal jurisdictions mentioned above, the New York State Supreme Court confirmed the Arbitration Award in the amount of $14,043,387.90, not including interest accruing to date.

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