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Accent Delight International Ltd. v. Sotheby's and Sotheby's, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. New York

January 7, 2020

ACCENT DELIGHT INTERNATIONAL LTD. and XITRANS FINANCE LTD., Plaintiffs,
v.
SOTHEBY'S and SOTHEBY'S, INC., Defendants.

          LETTER OF REQUEST FOR INTERNATIONAL JUDICIAL ASSISTANCE PURSUANT TO THE HAGUE CONVENTION OF 18 MARCH 1970 ON THE TAKING OF EVIDENCE ABROAD IN CIVIL MATTERS TO OBTAIN EVIDENCE FROM YVES CHARLES EDGAR BOUVIER

          HON. JESSE M. FURAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         In conformity with Articles 1 and 3 of the Hague Convention of 18 March 1970 on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters (the “Hague Convention”), the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York respectfully requests international judicial assistance from the Supreme Court of the Republic of Singapore to obtain evidence from Yves Charles Edgar Bouvier (“Mr. Bouvier”) for use in the above-captioned civil proceeding currently pending before this Court (the “U.S. Action” or “Action”). The evidence is sought by Defendants in the Action, Sotheby's and Sotheby's, Inc. (together, “Sotheby's”). As set forth below, Mr. Bouvier is a critical fact witness whose evidence is relevant to Plaintiffs' allegations in this Action and Sotheby's defenses thereto.

         The U.S. Action is a civil proceeding in which Plaintiffs allege that Sotheby's aided and abetted an alleged fraud and breach of fiduciary duty committed by Mr. Bouvier, an art dealer, against Plaintiffs. Mr. Bouvier therefore has documents and first-hand knowledge regarding at least two critical elements of Plaintiffs' claims against Sotheby's. First, Plaintiffs must prove that Mr. Bouvier committed the alleged underlying fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. Mr. Bouvier has direct knowledge of his relationship with Plaintiffs and of the entire course of conduct between them, including their communications, interactions, agreements, understandings, and disputes, all of which are relevant to proving or disproving the underlying fraud or breach of fiduciary duty. Second, even if Plaintiffs establish that Mr. Bouvier committed fraud or breached his fiduciary duty, they must then establish that Sotheby's aided and abetted that fraud or breach. This claim requires Plaintiffs to prove that Sotheby's acted with the requisite mental state regarding Mr. Bouvier's alleged fraud or breach of fiduciary duty. Given that neither Dmitry Rybolovlev (“Mr. Rybolovlev”), Plaintiffs' principal, nor any other representative of Plaintiffs ever communicated with Sotheby's regarding the artworks in question, a fact Plaintiffs do not dispute, the only possible basis for Sotheby's alleged awareness of Mr. Bouvier's relationship and dealings with Plaintiffs is what Sotheby's purportedly learned from Mr. Bouvier. Sotheby's denies that it had any knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of Plaintiffs' allegations regarding their relationship with Mr. Bouvier or any alleged defrauding of Plaintiffs by Mr. Bouvier, including what Mr. Bouvier allegedly charged Plaintiffs for any of the artworks at issue. Accordingly, it is critical to Sotheby's defenses in this case to obtain Mr. Bouvier's testimony and documents as to these subject matter areas.

         The assistance requested is for the appropriate judicial authority of Singapore to compel the appearance of Mr. Bouvier to produce documents and give oral testimony relevant to the claims and defenses in the Action. The evidence is intended for use at trial.

         1. Sender/Requesting Judicial Authority:

The Honorable Jesse M. Furman
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
40 Centre Street, Room 2202
New York, New York 10007
United States of America

         2. Central Authority of the Requested State:

Registrar of the Supreme Court
Supreme Court of Singapore
1 Supreme Court Lane
Singapore 178879

         3. Persons to whom the executed request is to be returned:

Marcus A. Asner
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP
250 West 55th Street New York,
New York 10019 United States of America
Email: Marcus.Asner@arnoldporter.com
Tel: 212 836 7222
Fax: 212 836 8689

         4. Names and Addresses of the Parties and Their Representatives:

         a. Plaintiffs:

Accent Delight International Ltd.
Jipfa Building, 3rd Floor
142 Main Street
Road Town, Tortola
British Virgin Islands
Xitrans Finance Ltd.
Akara Building
24 De Castro Street
Wickhams Cay 1
Road Town
Tortola
British Virgin Islands
Counsel for Plaintiffs:
Daniel Kornstein
Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP
600 Fifth Avenue, 10th Floor
New York, New York 10020
Email: dkornstein@ecbalaw.com
Tel: 212 763 5000
Gerui Lim
Drew & Napier
10 Collyer Quay
10th Floor
Ocean Financial Centre
Singapore 049315
Email: gerui.lim@drewnapier.com
Tel: 6531 4120

         b. Defendants:

Sotheby's
1334 York Avenue
New York, New York 10021 United States of America Sotheby's, Inc.
1334 York Avenue
New York, New York 10021
United States of America

         Counsel for Defendants:

Marcus A. Asner
Sara L. Shudofsky
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP
250 West 55th Street New York,
New York 10019
Email: Marcus.Asner@arnoldporter.com
Email: Sara.Shudofsky@arnoldporter.com
Tel: 212 836 7222
Herman Jeremiah
Toh Cher ...

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