Dispute with Kuwait: a Russian files an appeal against arbitration in France

Marsha Lazareva, a Russian businesswoman, appealed on Saturday in Paris against an arbitration award in a dispute between her and the State of Kuwait, AFP learned on Sunday from her lawyers François Zimeray, Cherie Blair and Marie -Laure Bizeau.

Her defenders present in a press release Ms. Lazareva, born in 1973, as “the target of a campaign of persecution in Kuwait for more than 5 years, motivated by commercial interests” and “supported or encouraged by certain government officials”.

“Ms Lazareva was arrested in November 2017 and spent more than 470 days in a notoriously overcrowded prison, isolated from her young child, before being released on bail in June 2019,” they continued.

‘Under threat of further imprisonment’ after ‘show trials’ which saw her ‘sentenced to a total of 29 years in prison with hard labour, she found refuge at the Russian Embassy in Kuwait with her American son in November 2019, where they have since remained blocked,” the statement read.

“Ms. Lazareva has been targeted by a series of unsubstantiated allegations of embezzlement of public funds and embezzlement related to her work,” they explained further.

In a November 2020 opinion, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention described the conditions of his detention as “unlawful and arbitrary”.

Ms. Lazareva therefore seized the Paris Court of Appeal on Saturday of an appeal for annulment against an arbitration award rendered in this dispute on August 12 in Paris.

With this appeal before the international chamber of the Paris Court of Appeal, “this is the first time that a French court will have to consider” it, noted the lawyers.

Seized in 2018, the arbitral tribunal “by a majority declared itself incompetent” this summer “to hear the requests of Ms. Lazareva on the grounds that she did not sufficiently control the investments made”.

However, argue his counsel, Kuwait “had considered this control sufficient to sentence Ms. Lazareva to a total of 29 years of imprisonment with hard labor for alleged embezzlement which she has always vigorously contested”.

“This courageous woman has always maintained her innocence. In Kuwait, where justice is in the hands of power, she never had a fair trial and fought with her bare hands, alone against men who made her elimination a matter of pride,” commented Mr. Zimeray.

The Paris Court of Appeal could render its decision within a year to two years.


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