The English Court of Appeal has today handed down its final judgment on the appeals filed by Mr. Alessandro Benedetti and Kirkland & Ellis International LLP client Mr. Naguib Sawiris (Chairman of Orascom Telecom and Weather Investments) in respect of a decision of the English High Court in June of 2009.
The English Court of Appeal issued its ruling entirely rejecting Mr. Benedetti's appeal for any equity stake in Weather Investments. The Court of Appeal upheld Mr. Sawiris' position that Mr. Benedetti has no legal right to any shares in Weather Investments or any of its related companies and the Sawiris family companies were exonerated from all liability to Mr. Benedetti.
Mr. Sawiris and his family's companies succeeded in their appeal, with the court reducing substantially the original award of €75.1 million down to €14.52 million, for the services Mr. Benedetti provided in the course of the acquisition of Wind Telecommunicazioni SpA in 2005. Mr Benedetti has also been ordered to pay the legal fees of Mr. Sawiris and his family companies in the original case, which exceeded €10 million. This outcome stands in stark contrast to Mr. Benedetti's initial claim of being entitled to one third of the shares of Weather Investments and the court's initial judgment to award him €75 million.
Prior to the initial litigation, Mr. Benedetti had rejected an amicable offer by Mr. Sawiris as compensation for his role in the acquisition of Wind Telecommunicazioni, choosing instead to commence court proceedings claiming much more. This is a resounding victory for Mr. Sawiris and his family's companies following a lengthy litigation process that was first commenced by Mr. Benedetti in August 2007. Mr. Sawiris was quoted as saying "my family and I are very happy that justice was served and that we can now put this issue to rest."
Partners Christopher Colbridge and Rajinder Bassi, both based in Kirkland's London office, led the representation.