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England & Wales the more appropriate jurisdiction to consider case of alleged fraud against betting agency

Eurasia Sports Limited v Aguad [2018] EWCA Civ 1742

Related Member(s):
Antony White QC
Related Practice Area(s):
Crime and Regulatory Law, Public and Private International Law
Court:

In this case the eleventh defendant and sole appellant, Omar Mahchi Aguad, challenges the jurisdiction of the court to try the proceedings brought against him and 10 other defendants by the claimant, Eurasia Sports Limited, alleging breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation and conspiracy to defraud. The claimant is a company incorporated in Alderney which operates a betting agency, introducing high value clients to an online betting exchange.  It alleges that all of the defendants, who were resident in Peru at the time of the relevant events, conspired to defraud it. There are claims against each of the defendants for sums due under the terms of individual gambling accounts opened with the claimant in the name of each of them.  Claims are also made against some defendants, but not Mr Mahchi Aguad, for fraudulent misrepresentation.  So far as Mr Mahchi Aguad is concerned, in addition to the claim based on the indebtedness on his betting account, it is alleged that he was involved in the conspiracy to defraud because he has revealed his close links with the first defendant”.

The judgment is important because it contains the first appellate level consideration of the new “further claims” gateway (6PD para 3.1(4A)) introduced in 2015, and its inter-relationship with the necessary or proper party gateway. The Court held that the Judge erred by concluding the damage was sustained within the jurisdiction for the purposes of the tort gateway, but his ruling could be supported on the further or additional ground that the tort claims against certain defendants facing contract claims could pass through the “further claims” gateway and those defendants then became anchor defendants so that the tort claims against the 11th defendant could pass through the  necessary or proper party gateway.

The Court also dismissed the appeal in relation to forum, having reached the same conclusion as the judge in the previous instance that “England & Wales is clearly and distinctly the more appropriate forum” for these proceedings. It accepted “for the purposes of argument that the weight to be given to the fact that proceedings will continue in any event in this jurisdiction may be qualitatively different in cases where this court is compelled to accept jurisdiction on the basis of a defendant’s domicile. Even where that is not the case, however, the fact that proceedings are very likely to continue here remains a factor which is entitled to weight. The amount of weight to be attached to it is a matter for the judge, always bearing in mind the caution it is necessary to exercise before bringing foreign defendants here on the ground that the only alternative requires more than one suit in more than one jurisdiction”.

Antony White QC was involved in this case.