Bri­tish ar­chi­tect faces off with Poroshenko’s Roshen

Kyiv Post - - Business - BY JACK LAURENSON [email protected]

A Bri­tish ar­chi­tect and long-time ex­pa­tri­ate busi­ness­man in Ukraine will face the Roshen con­fec­tionary com­pany in Ukraine’s Supreme Court on Nov. 28, in a le­gal hear­ing that could be a key sig­nal for in­vestor con­fi­dence and con­tract law in the coun­try.

Philip Hud­son’s ar­chi­tec­ture, real es­tate and con­struc­tion man­age­ment firm D’Es­tate, also known as Jones East 8, is su­ing Roshen, al­leg­ing that the candy com­pany – ma­jor­ity owned by Ukrainian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko – has re­fused to pay for de­signs and schemat­ics pro­duced by the com­pany.

D’Es­tate al­leges that 40 per­cent of the con­tracted fees for de­sign­ing a milk-pro­cess­ing plant and Roshen busi­ness in the city of Vin­nyt­sya, a pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal with 370,000 res­i­dents lo­cated 270 kilo­me­ters south­east of Kyiv, have not been paid, and that Roshen has breached con­tracts by re­fus­ing to pay up.

Roshen ad­mits not pay­ing the fees, but says it’s jus­ti­fied in not do­ing so as the plans were de­layed and un­us­able.

Roshen came un­der fire in Feb­ru­ary 2015 when an al­leged threat­en­ing phone call to D’Es­tate com­pany di­rec­tor Hanna Nik­i­forova, in re­la­tion to the de­sign and con­struc­tion deal, left the woman so dis­traught that she re­signed from the com­pany and left the coun­try.

In May 2015, Hud­son told the Amer­i­can news mag­a­zine Newsweek that Roshen pres­i­dent and 9 per­cent owner Vy­ach­eslav Moskalevskiy had said Poroshenko's com­pany be­lieved in “mafia man­age­ment meth­ods” as he jus­ti­fied his com­pany’s re­fusal to pay.

Hud­son be­lieved the tele­phone call to his com­pany di­rec­tor was fur­ther ev­i­dence of a gang­ster men­tal­ity within the com­pany.

Roshen has ar­gued that the ar­chi­tect’s de­signs were de­layed, flawed and un­us­able – an al­le­ga­tion de­nied by Hud­son, who showed Kyiv Post pho­to­graphs and satel­lite im­agery that he claims proves that Roshen used the plans to go ahead with their build­ings.

Pic­tures seen by the Kyiv Post of the Roshen fa­cil­ity in Vin­nyt­sya and D’Es­tate’s de­signs show a very strong re­sem­blance, de­spite Roshen pre­vi­ously stat­ing that the de­signs were not us­able.

Hud­son, who pre­vi­ously sued Roshen un­suc­cess­fully in Vin­nyt­sya – a re­gion of Ukraine where Roshen and Poroshenko have a huge amount of po­lit­i­cal and ju­di­cial in­flu­ence – is de­mand­ing pay­ment of $52,000 in out­stand­ing fees for work un­der­taken for the con­fec­tionary com­pany, plus com­pen­sa­tion for the vi­o­la­tion of his in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights and le­gal costs.

Roshen ear­lier ad­mit­ted that they de­nied all of­fers of a set­tle­ment from Hud­son and D’Es­tate and have de­nied all wrong­do­ing or breach of con­tract.

They have also ad­mit­ted re­fus­ing to pay 40 per­cent of the fees, but said they were jus­ti­fied in do­ing so.

The hear­ing, which will start at the Ukrainian Supreme Court and be heard by three judges on Nov. 28, is an im­por­tant test for the coun­try’s con­tract law and will be watched closely by for­eign in­vestors.

Peo­ple walk past a Roshen con­fec­tionary shop on Khreshchatyk Street in Kyiv on Sept. 28, 2018. On Nov. 28, Bri­tish ar­chi­tect Philip Hud­son will face Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko's Roshen con­fec­tionary com­pany in a long-awaited hear­ing at Ukraine's Supreme Court. (Volodymyr Petrov)

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