Lawyer Martin Russo Referred to Manhattan DA for Investigation
Supreme Court Judge Refers Inna Gudavadze's Lawyer for Criminal Investigation
On April 2, 2010, Manhattan Judge Bernard Fried signed an order referring Gudavadze's lawyer Martin Russo and her associate, French national Jean-Yves Haouzi, to Manhattan District Attorney's Office for investigation.
On March 31, 2010, Russo and Haouzi, accompanied by approximately 20 armed men, invaded the premises of Ajna Bar by physical force, threatened the employees and locked out the Ajna's officers and management, according to documents filed in court by Ajna president, Nina Zajic.
Ajna Bar (formerly Buddha Bar NYC) is an internationally acclaimed dining and entertainment establishment, regularly featured in major international media, including New York Times, New York Post, USA Today, Bloomberg News, Newsday; and others.
"Haouzi and Russo, in a gangland manner, endeavored an apparently long-planned raid upon [Ajna's] premises, ransacking the premises and locking out [its] legitimate management... broke into the safe and removed over $50,000 in cash" according to the Zajic affidavit.
MT has learned that approximately 25 employees of Ajna, who witnessed the event, have signed affidavits describing the raid.
"I have never seen anything like this" said Judge Fried, at the court hearing on April 1, 2010. Judges in civil cases rarely resort to referring lawyers for criminal investigations.
It is believed that the raid was ordered by Gudavadze and her Liechtenstein proxy, Andrew Baker. When Police arrived on the scene, Russo showed the officers copies of "resolutions" signed by Baker.
Gudavadze was recently named defendant in the wrongful death lawsuit, which alleges that she, in conspiracy with former Russian "oligarch" Boris Berezovsky, murdered her husband, Georgian billionaire and philanthropist Badri Patarkatsishvili, in order to seize his fortune (See: Gudavadze, Berezovsky, Implicated in Death of Badri Patarkatsishvili, Lawsuit Alleges (MT)).
Justice Fried, was appointed a Judge of the Criminal Court of the City of New York in 1980 and designated in 1984 as an Acting Justice of the Criminal Branch of the Supreme Court, but also presided in civil matters. Last month, Judge Fried handed down a critical decision in a much featured in the media case of U.S. Bank NA v. GreenPoint Mortgage Funding Inc., granting GreenPoint’s motion to dismiss a complaint by the insurers over the quality of $1.8 billion of home-equity loans used to back bonds they guaranteed, Reuters reported.
Manhattan DA's Office apparently has not yet received Justice Fried's referral order.
Ms. Zajic and Mr. Haouzi were not immediately available for comment.