Charles Samek QC and James McWilliams, instructed by DLA Piper (UK) LLP, appeared for Cyprus Popular Bank (“CPB”) in its successful appeal from the decision of Picken J in Cyprus Popular Bank v Vgenopoulos & Ors  QB 453. The litigation arises out of a €3.79 billion claim against the now deceased Greek tycoon Andreas Vgenopoulos and others following the collapse of Cyprus’ second largest bank during the Cypriot financial crisis.
The appeal raised two points of law of practical and wide-ranging importance on which there was no direct English or European authority, namely:
The case was important for a number of reasons, including:
Allowing CPB’s appeal on all grounds and reversing the decision of Picken J below, the Court of Appeal (McCombe, Flaux & Holroyde LJJ))  EWCA Civ 1) held that:
Charles is ranked by Chambers and Partners as a leading QC in commercial dispute resolution and fraud (civil), describing him as: “outstanding advocate. He has real presence in court and you can see that the judges really listen to him. He came across really well”; “extremely bright, hard-working and responsive”; “very clear in terms of his thinking, advice and advocacy”; and “a fantastically hands-on, very user-friendly and talented advocate”. Charles is shortly to appear before the Supreme Court in JSC BTA Bank v Khrapunov litigation on an appeal from the Court of Appeal, reported at  2 WLR 1563, concerning whether breaches of court orders can constitute unlawful means for the purpose of the tort of conspiracy and whether the place of the event giving rise to the damage within the meaning of the tort jurisdiction gateway in Art. 5.3 of the Lugano Convention is the place where an alleged conspiracy was hatched or the place where it was executed.
James has been ranked as one of the top ten commercial juniors under eight years’ call at the Bar for two consecutive years. He has been described as: “Bright, tenacious and not afraid of a challenge – a star of the future” (Legal 500, 2016); “A rising star with huge potential” (Legal 500, 2017); and is regarded as “Incredibly user-friendly, thoughtful and forensic in his approach to commercial disputes” and “In terms of call, he is beyond his years in the way he presents his advice” (Chambers and Partners, 2018).
Charles and James have worked together on several important cases in recent years, including Abela v Baadarani (No.2)  1 WLR 2018 (instructed by Child & Child LLP) which established for the first time that there is jurisdiction to make a search order against a third party even when no substantive proceedings are contemplated against that third party.