Architect accused of failing to pay consultant for shelved project

Troubled architect Aukett has appeared in a Russian court facing allegations it has failed to pay another consultant outstanding fees for over two years.

International engineering consultancy IDA claims it is owed £350,000 for design work on a shelved commercial tower in southern Russia.

This month Aukett reported its turnover had almost halved as workloads in Russia and the Middle East plummeted.

Project turnover in Russia alone fell 88% from £3.5m in 2009 to £0.4m in 2010.

IDA claims it completed the design work on the 22-storey office scheme in 2008.

It is thought Aukett is owed about double IDA’s fee from its Russian client, Peresvet Region Kuban, which has put the scheme on hold.

The case was heard in Moscow Arbitration Court on Monday and was deferred for a further hearing on 17 March.

Des Killingworth, director at IDA, said the scheme was probably outsized for the provincial city of Krasnodar near the Black Sea. The development would have been its largest building, with 65,000m2 of office space.

Aukett is no stranger to the courts, having appeared in the UK High Court in 2009 in a high-profile row with developer Simon Halibi. Halibi was ultimately ordered to pay £550,000 in unpaid fees but Aukett was rebuked for “fraudulent misrepresentation”.

A spokesperson for Aukett said the firm would not comment on an ongoing arbitration process.