Non-parties made to bear costs

Rare exercise of court's jurisdiction in slander claim

A Dutch company and entrepreneur have been ordered to pay the costs incurred by a UK company, Md7 Europe, and its Chief Executive, Michael Gianni, in defending themselves against a US$30m claim in slander, malicious falsehood and  interference with business by unlawful means.

Zedonix NV and Raoul Witteveen were not parties to the action, which was brought by two other companies, RFS Capital LLC and RFS Capital BV. However, the court found that the Claimants (who were insolvent by the time the claim concluded) were owned by Zedonix, which was in turn owned by Witteveen, and that it was Witteveen who had caused the action to be brought and funded it and that he would have benefitted from any damages award. He had taken US$3m in assets out of RFS BV prior to the conclusion of the claim. Master Eyre therefore held that he and Zedonix ought to be jointly and severally liable for the Defendants’ costs, which were in excess of £100,000.

5RB’s William Bennett (instructed by EMW Picton Howell LLP) acted for the Defendants, Md7 Europe and Michael Gianni.

Click here for the case report and full judgment.