Lakshmi N. Mittal receives honorary doctorate

Steel tycoon Mittal is represented by 3 Verulam buildings’ Paul Lownestein QC, who is being asked to defend allegations that he reneged on a multimillion-dollar agreement to pay fees to Varma for helping secure an oil deal with a former Nigerian president.
Varma says the promise of commissions was made to him orally and not written down while the pair were in Mittal’s private jet.
Mittal denies the contract was ever made. He states even if there were an agreement Varma would not be entitled to any commission because he had not played any causative role in brokering the deal.
The deal in question involved a joint venture (JV) between a Mittal company, an Indian state oil company and the Nigerian state in which the JV acquired two Nigerian oil blocks in return for a $6bn investment in Nigerian infrastructure. In the end the oil fields both proved unproductive.
As with Boris Berezovksy and his $5bn claim against Roman Abramovich, Varma’s solicitor team from Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC) have agreed to act on a conditional fee arrangement.
The trial on issues of liability will be heard in the Commercial Court in March and issues of quantum will be tried subsequently, if at all.

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