Business Insider Edition

A Russian shipping giant, a Venezuelan tycoon, and a British litigation financier are battling in court over alleged swapping of secret documents for a billionaire's sex tape

Theron Mohamed , Business Insider US
 Aug 28, 2019, 02:39 PM
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  • A Russian shipping giant is suing a debt collector and his employer for allegedly swapping its confidential documents for a sex tape "related to" Floridian oil billionaire Harry Sargeant III, according to the Financial Times.
  • Novoship is seeking up to $91 million (R1.3 billion) from Burford Capital and one of its senior executives, Daniel Hall, after he allegedly traded sensitive files for the video.
  • At the same time, Novoship is getting sued by a Venezuelan shipping tycoon for allegedly breaching a settlement deal.
  • Novoship has blamed Burford and Hall for the breach and wants Burford to pay if the Ruperti suit succeeds.
  • Visit Business Insider SA's homepage for more stories.

A Russian shipping giant is suing a debt collector and his employer for allegedly swapping confidential documents for a sex tape "related to" Floridian oil billionaire Harry Sargeant III.

Novoship is seeking up to $91 million (R1.3 billion) from Burford Capital, a litigation finance specialist that weathered an attack from short-seller Muddy Waters this month.

It's also suing Daniel Hall, a senior Burford executive known for hunting down the yachts and cars of people who don't pay up on time, according to the Financial Times.

Novoship recruited Hall as an investigator and gave him access to internal documents including bank statements related to Wilmer Ruperti, a Venezuelan shipping tycoon, the FT said.

Novoship has accused him of illegally trading sensitive files for the video related to Sargeant while he was investigating Sargeant's assets for another, unnamed, client, the FT reported.

It is not clear from the reporting exactly how the sex tape relates to Sargeant, or even whether he appears in it.

At the same time, Novoship is being sued by Ruperti's companies, the FT said. Novoship is being sued for between $53 million (R811 million) and $91 million (R1.3 billion) for allegedly breaching a settlement deal they struck in 2016.

Novoship wants Burford to foot the bill if the lawsuit from Ruperti's companies succeeds.

Burford argued it isn't liable to Novoship for any loss or damages in a court filing, adding that "the relevant information was in the public domain and was otherwise not private and confidential."

Burford also considers both Ruperti's and Novoship's claims to be "meritless," Burford CEO Christopher Bogart told the FT.

Sargeant, Novoship, and Suramericana de Transportes - one of Ruperti's companies - didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Markets Insider. Burford declined to provide further comment.

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