Starski v. Kirzhnev, No. 11-1393 (1st Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Starski claims that he had a business relationship with a Vietnamese enterprise (Sovico) and sought to facilitate a $1.5 billion debt swap between the governments of Vietnam and the Russian Federation; that Starski joined with (defendant) Kirzhnev, said to have high level contacts in the Russian government; that Kirzhnev agreed to pay Starski a substantial commission; that $1 billion of the debt swap was completed and $100 million in commissions paid to some combination of Kirzhnev, Kirzhnev’s company, and Sovico; but that Kirzhnev paid Starski nothing. Starski’s suit, seeking at least $25 million in damages, included claims for conversion, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and fraud and unfair business practices in violation of Massachusetts' Chapter 93A. The jury held that no contract had been proved by Starski. The First Circuit affirmed, upholding the exclusion of evidence of Kirzhnev's convictions in Russian court for bribery and the bar on cross-examination of Kirzhnev about documents that were seized or destroyed during his arrest by Russian authorities for those same crimes. Starski did not adequately authenticate the convictions and offered nothing to support the fairness of the convictions or the Russian criminal justice system generally.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on June 27, 2012.