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British Architect Sues Poroshenko’s Chocolate Empire for Stealing Designs

© Photo : roshen.ua/ru / Roshen
Roshen - Sputnik International
British architect Philip Hudson has filed legal papers in Ukraine against President Petro Poroshenko's chocolate company, Roshen, accusing it of stealing his building designs; he is demanding £100,000 in compensation, according to a report covering the event in The Times.

The owner of the UK architectural bureau D’Estate, Philip Hudson, has reportedly sued the chocolate empire of President Poroshenko, Roshen (which takes its brand from the middle two syllables of his name), accusing it of stealing his building designs and not paying him in full for the completed work.

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“Our firm designed a building for an office, gatehouse and reworked milk-truck cleansing facility for the Roshen plant,” The Times quotes Hudson as saying. “We did a good job for them and they’re abusing their power to distort the results of the work “

The row dates back to 2012, when the architect commissioned his designs for the company’s milk processing plant in the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia.

The two parties then signed three acts of completion certifying the work had been done.

As it turned out later, Roshen simply wasn't going to pay any more than the 60% installment it had already paid, Hudson said back in February, adding that with his building designs already in hand, Roshen had decided to pocket 40% of the payment it owed the architect’s company.

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“I was absolutely shocked, I couldn’t believe it,” Hudson later complained to Newsweek. “We did a good job for them, and they just decided not to pay us, because they feel they’re bigger and stronger than us. It was a case of might and not right. With all their good works in Vinnytsia, it doesn’t take a genius to work out they will have very good connections with the courts down there. We didn’t have the resources to fight a really major company like Roshen in its home territory.”

By August 2014, Roshen had completed construction of Hudson’s design, having changed only a handful of elements.

Hudson then said that the sweeping steel façade of the Vinnytsia plant was identical to that of his design, as were the shape and arrangement of the outlying buildings.

Roshen argued that it paid for Hudson’s initial sketches, giving them authorship rights, but refused to pay for his working drawings because they were flawed to the point of being unworkable. The company said that the contract gave it the right unilaterally to withdraw from it after deciding that the quality was inadequate, and that the work was submitted later than the deadline.

Roshen, however admitted to signing an act of completion accepting the work, but the company insisted that it did so on condition that the plans were revised.

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“I signed it [the act of completion] as accepted for revision, but then we have not changed drawings, so we decided to stop the contract relationships and find another organization which makes this working package,” the Newsweek then quoted Kirill Matyash, who was Roshen’s chief architect for the project, as saying.

Hudson argued that his firm went to great lengths to address all the problems raised, despite becoming suspicious that minor details were being raised as an excuse to withhold payment.

Signed and stamped copies of the contract and acts of completion provided to Newsweek by the architecture firm showed that Roshen accepted the architect’s work without any complaints. The company even waived the right to make any counter-claim against Hudson’s firm relating to the design.

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The documents further showed that a new deadline had been drawn up and agreed upon with Roshen after the company had failed to provide information to the architectural firm on time.

With all the above documents at hand, Hudson then decided to leave the case. He “played with the idea of causing a rumpus during Poroshenko’s election campaign”, as Newsweek put it, but decided to wait and see how the promised reforms played out.

So, somehow now seems to be the right time for the architect to try to fight for his rights in a Ukrainian court, where  Roshen is registered.

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