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Nicola Sharp, considers a case where a multi-million-pound judgement was given against a company that offered no defence at the hearing

Author: Nicola Sharp  29 October 2021

Posted in: Commercial Litigation.

A Turkish bank won its claim for more than £91 million against a company that a court found had failed to defend a debt claim linked to an industrial conglomerate.

The Commercial Court of the High Court in London granted Türkiye İş Bankası summary judgment on its claim against Focus Investments. Lawyers for Focus, which is based in the central Pacific Ocean Marshall Islands, were given notice of the hearing but failed to instruct counsel to defend it at the hearing. 

Türkiye İş Bankası (İşbank) which is one of Turkey’s biggest banks, sued Focus over loans the bank made to the industrial conglomerate Çukurova Holding AS in 2012.

It claimed that Focus agreed to act as a guarantor so that İşbank would advance Çukurova the money. According to İşbank, an agreement was reached under which Çukurova would pay back the loan, plus a Turkish tax and interest, in November 2017. But the company did not meet the deadline, according to court documents. 

İşbank argued that failure to pay was a default of the loan agreement and left Focus liable for the outstanding balance. 

In granting summary judgement to İşbank, Simon Salzedo QC said that the "silence" from Focus’ legal team gave a "strong inference" that nothing else could be said in its defence. There was, he said, no compelling reason for the case to go to trial.

This is a case that highlights the strength and power of civil proceedings in the UK, and the risks of failing to defend all actions adequately and robustly. Such a failure can result in the court granting summary judgment without the need for a trial, as has been shown with Focus. 

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Nicola is known for her fraud, civil recovery and business crime expertise, her experience of leading the largest financial disputes and multinational investigations and her skills in devising preventative measures and conducting internal investigations for corporates.

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