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Committal proceedings ordered for breach of anti-suit injunction: MTC v PH

Add to my portfolioOn Friday 10 August 2018, Jacobs J gave judgment on the committal application in Mobile Telecommunications Company KSC v HRH Prince Hussam Bin Saud Bin Abdulaziz Bin Saud and ordered a sentence of 12 months imprisonment.

Prince Hussam is a member of the Saudi royal family who, as the arbitration tribunal found, concluded a loan agreement with Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC) containing an arbitration clause. 

In an LCIA arbitration he was found to owe more than US$0.5bn to MTC. But having lost that arbitration he revived competing Saudi proceedings which he had previously stayed. MTC commenced proceedings for an anti-suit injunction. Two interim without notice anti-suit injunctions were granted, by Males J on 1 May 2018, [2018] EWHC 1190 (Comm), and Andrew Baker J on 14 May 2018, [2018] EWHC 1172 (Comm). 

On 18 May 2018, Andrew Baker J granted a permanent anti-suit injunction, holding that Prince Hussam’s Saudi proceedings were in breach of the arbitration clause and also vexatious: [2018] EWHC 1469 (Comm). Nevertheless, the Saudi proceedings continued to judgment. MTC commenced committal proceedings alleging this was a contempt. Prince Hussam did not attend.

Jacobs J granted the committal application holding that the contempts alleged were proven. In considering sentencing he concluded that anti-suit injunctions were an important remedy, of equal importance to freezing injunctions. 

In the circumstances a sentence of 12 months imprisonment was justified. The judgment is an important confirmation of the English court’s willingness to enforce anti-suit injunctions.

MTC were represented by Thomas Raphael QC, instructed by a team from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP led by Deborah Ruff.

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