Press Release

Sawiris Triumphs in UK Supreme Court

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP achieved a significant and final victory today for Naguib Sawiris (Chairman of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology S.A.E.) when the U.K. Supreme Court dismissed all claims brought against him by Italian businessman Alessandro Benedetti. In its precedential ruling, the Supreme Court clarifies issues of restitution and unjust enrichment, and settles the law on these issues and the basis on which claims for unjust enrichment/quantum meruit should be valued.

Mr. Benedetti claimed he was entitled to a one-third stake or cash equivalent (€3.7 billion) in Weather Investments II sarl, for work related to its acquisition of Wind Telecommunicazioni SPA in 2005.

In its judgment today, the Supreme Court dismissed Mr. Benedetti’s appeal in its entirety and upheld Mr. Sawiris’ position that Mr. Benedetti has no legal right to any shares in Weather Investments, which reduces Mr. Sawiris’ liability to zero. Mr. Benedetti is also liable to pay Mr. Sawiris’ legal fees.

“My family and I are very happy with the Supreme Court’s decision that puts an end to this dispute once and for all. We feel justice has been served and we look forward to moving on,” said Mr. Sawiris.

Kirkland has represented Mr. Sawiris in the matter since 2007, when Mr. Benedetti filed a lawsuit claiming he was entitled to a one-third stake in Weather II based on a contract for his role on Weather II’s acquisition of Wind Telecommunicazioni, the largest leveraged buyout in Europe in 2005.

The Kirkland team was led by litigation partners Rajinder Bassi, Chris Colbridge and Chiraag Shah, along with litigation associates Aline Mooney and Sean Adams, who worked on the Supreme Court case.

Kirkland & Ellis is a 1,600-attorney law firm representing global clients in complex litigation and dispute resolution/arbitration, corporate/M&A, restructuring, tax, and intellectual property and technology matters. The Firm has offices in London, Chicago, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Munich, New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Shanghai and Washington, D.C.

The article is available here.