Vladislav Doronin has retained full control of Aman, the hotel group he took over in 2014, following a successful High Court ruling in London.
The Russian businessman originally paired up with Omar Amanat to buy Aman Resorts for $358 million, at the time prevailing over other bidders for the hotel portfolio, loved the world over by its loyal and affluent guests – now known as “Amanjunkies” – of which Doronin himself was once one.
But he and Amanat fell out soon after the deal and have been battling for ownership ever since – as a result of the latest pronouncement, a statement from Doronin said all claims in the long-running court dispute had now been settled.
As a result, he continues to be in full control of Aman, with AH Overseas Ltd now the new holding company for the group.
The settlement was concluded with KPMG, the liquidators for Amanat’s vehicle ‘Peak Hotels & Resorts Limited’ (PHRL) which recently went into involuntary liquidation, according to the statement. It was PHRL which brought the initial claim in the High Court of England & Wales.
The statement added that PHRL has agreed to retract all allegations made against Doronin, his businesses and business relationships and to pay compensation of £12 million in respect of Doronin’s costs, and those of his fellow director, Johan Eliasch who was a party to the court case.
Doronin said: “I am delighted that my position has been fully vindicated in this settlement. I was always sure of this outcome and it is great news the truth has prevailed. This was a long process and the claims brought by PHRL should never have been started.”
Aman was started in 1988 by Adrian Zecha, who built a retreat on Phuket’s west coast, naming it Amanpuri, or “place of peace”.
Time to push on
The resort is still there and is one of 30 properties in 20 countries – including recent openings such as Amanemu in Japan and Amanera in Domincan Republic – but Zecha’s official involvement with the brand was terminated in July 2014.
Doronin said he was now keen to push on with the plans for the company.
“I am excited at being able to continue what I started: building this business, one of the most fantastic brands in the world, without any further distraction,” he said.
“During my time at Aman as chairman, I have restructured the company with new top management and invested capital into existing properties as well as bringing new projects to fruition including opening four new hotels and the expedition vessel Amandira,” he said.
Moves have also included beefing up Aman’s European presence with a significant office in London.
Doronin said: “I have always acted in the best interests of Aman, whilst having to deal with the disruptive actions of Mr Amanat, who Mr Justice Henderson described during this process as a man with ‘an established record of dishonesty’.”
Doronin’s counterclaims have been withdrawn as part of the settlement, “bringing to an end any involvement on the part of Mr Doronin or his companies in the London court proceedings”, the statement said.
But for Doronin – the personal battle is not over.
“I intend to pursue my personal claims against Mr Amanat in the New York Courts because it’s my social responsibility to make sure he cannot defraud others in this way – I will carry on the fight,” he said.