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Anonymous Testimony Allowed in Trial on Rusal Stake, Judge Says

Some witnesses in a trial beginning July 9 between United Co. Rusal Chief Executive Officer Oleg Deripaska and Israeli businessman Michael Cherney could give evidence anonymously, a London judge said today.

Judge Andrew Smith refused the anonymity petitions for nine of the 12 witnesses, granting one witness’s request and giving two others a limited shield, without saying why. Some hearings had been held in private to protect their identities.

Cherney sued Deripaska in 2006 for a stake in Rusal, saying they were partners in the 1990s and he is owed about 13 percent of the company from a 2001 agreement he made with Deripaska in London. The stake would be worth about $1 billion now. Deripaska denies Cherney ever had a stake.

Deripaska wants to appeal today’s decision to the Court of Appeal and the identities of all 12 must be kept secret until that application is heard, Smith said.

The case is Cherney v. Deripaska, High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, Commercial Court 06-1218.

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