On July 18, 2017, the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California dismissed, with prejudice, plaintiffs’ claims against JSC RUSNANO and other defendants in a case challenging RUSNANO’s acquisition of the Nitol plant in the Irkutsk Region of Russia.
Orrick represented JSC RUSNANO and nine other corporate and individual defendants.
The dispute was over the Nitol plant, which manufactures polysilicon, material used in solar panels. In 2009 RUSNANO, along with another lender, extended a loan to one of the companies in the Nitol group, secured by a pledge of shares of a company within the group. In 2011, RUSNANO enforced the pledge and thereby acquired indirect ownership in the plant.
In 2015, plaintiffs Neas Limited and Andrey Tretyakov, indirect minority shareholders in the Nitol group of companies, brought a lawsuit in the Northern District of California challenging the enforcement of the pledge, which they claimed was a “takeover,” and the resulting acquisition by RUSNANO of ownership of the Nitol plant.
After two years of hard-fought litigation, plaintiffs consented to the dismissal of the case. They admitted, in a formal document submitted to and approved by the Court, that “following review by Plaintiffs and their counsel of laws governing the claims asserted in this Action as well as all available evidence, including those materials obtained in discovery and all Defendants’ pending Motions to Dismiss, Plaintiffs have determined that there is no meaningful chance of establishing personal jurisdiction over any of the Foreign Defendants or securing a monetary recovery in this Action if personal jurisdiction could be established.”
Valeria Kovaleva, the General Counsel for Investments, RUSNANO, said, “We thank the Orrick team for their creativity and persistence – and most of all for obtaining a great business result. We look forward to moving on. ”
Olga Sirodoeva of Orrick noted, “We are happy that we were able to prove that the plaintiffs had no legal or factual grounds to proceed with the case.” “The Court dismissed the case with prejudice against all former and present defendants, preventing future litigation on this matter,” added Robert Sills of Orrick.
JSC RUSNANO is owned by the Russian government and is in effect a Russian high-tech sovereign wealth fund created for investments in nanotechnologies and other advanced technologies.
The Orrick team included partners Robert Sills (New York), Karen Johnson-McKewan (San Francisco), Olga Sirodoeva (Washington, D.C.), as well as senior associates Igor Margulyan (New York) and Konstantin Kasyan (Moscow) and special legal consultant Mikhail Usubyan (Washington, D.C.).