Stanford, Walter Bau Seizure, U.K. Tour Company: Bankruptcy
Stanford International Bank’s liquidators won a bid to gain access to $20 million of assets frozen in the U.K.
Grant Thornton LLP, which is liquidating the Antigua-based bank, will use the money to fund its plan to recover assets for victims of R. Allen Stanford’s alleged Ponzi scheme. Judge Elizabeth Gloster ordered the release of $20 million, with $5 million to be made available to Grant Thornton immediately.
Stanford, 61, faces civil and criminal allegations that he defrauded investors of more than $7 billion using bogus certificates of deposit issued by Stanford International Bank. Stanford denies the claims. His criminal trial was postponed until January 2012 because of health problems.
About $100 million of Stanford International Bank’s assets are held in the U.K. in various hedge funds. The money has been the subject of a legal battle over access to the funds. The U.K. Serious Fraud Office wants to hand the assets to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Grant Thornton said it will use the money to fund lawsuits against banks and advisers who worked with Stanford. The accounting firm also hopes to clawback funds from investors who profited from the alleged fraud, its lawyers said.
Thailand to Pursue Seizure of Crown Prince Plane in German Court
Thailand’s government said it will seek the release of an aircraft owned by Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn seized by liquidators in Munich last month as part of a bankruptcy dispute in German courts.
The crown prince will no longer need to provide his personal funds to secure the release, outgoing Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya told reporters in Bangkok. The decision to follow legal channels follows a statement from the crown prince’s secretariat on July 31 saying he would use his personal funds to recover the airplane.
Werner Schneider, the insolvency administrator for builder Walter Bau AG (WTB), seized a Boeing 737 belonging to the crown prince on July 11 to force payment on a 30 million-euro ($42.4 million) claim against the Thai state, the company said last month.
The crown prince “has no connection with the dispute between the Thai government and Walter Bau, and didn’t cause the dispute,” the prince’s July 31 statement said.
A 2009 decision by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, or Uncitral, ordered Thailand to pay Walter Bau more than 30 million euros for breaching a bilateral investment treaty between Germany and Thailand. The order found that Thailand’s government breached the terms of a toll road concession operated by a venture partly owned by Walter Bau.
A Berlin court ruled on July 20 that Thailand must deposit 20 million euros to secure the release of the aircraft, according to the crown prince’s statement.
Holidays 4 UK Goes Into Administration, Press Association Says
Holidays 4 UK Ltd., a tour operator with 12,000 vacationers currently abroad, has gone into administration, the Press Association said.
The Brighton, England-based company, also trading as Aegean Flights, sold flights and packages to Turkey, the association said.
Ian Oakley-Smith and David Chubb have been appointed joint administrators, the company said on its website.
Iceland Defaulted Banks May Drop Repayment Target After Ruling
Iceland’s failed banks may drop efforts to reach an orderly settlement and instead file for bankruptcy protection after a court ruled that creditors with rejected claims can seek repayment, Glitnir Bank hf said.
The Reykjavik District Court ruled July 19 that ALMC hf, formerly Straumur-Burdaras Investment Bank hf, must pay Stapi Pension Fund 5.2 billion kronur ($44.7 million) even though its claim was filed after a deadline set by the bank. The decision will encourage more creditors whose claims had been deemed invalid to seek repayment and threatens to postpone indefinitely efforts to settle, said Arni Tomasson, who heads Glitnir’s resolution committee.
“If this ruling is upheld in the Supreme Court, it will open the floodgates of claims from everyone and anyone who believes he or she has unfinished business with the banks,” Tomasson said in a phone interview in Reykjavik. “Everyone gets a hunting license. It might be better for us to seek bankruptcy protection than to seek a composition agreement. Everything will change if this ruling is upheld.”
Iceland’s failed banks have yet to start repayment on the $85 billion they defaulted on in 2008, leaving creditors such as Deutsche Bank AG and BNP Paribas SA in the lurch. Before last month’s ruling, Tomasson said approved creditors might get some funds repaid by 2013, half a decade after the collapse of Iceland’s financial industry.
Pamodzi Liquidator to Name JSE-Listed Orkney Buyer, Report Says
Pamodzi Gold Ltd. (PZG)’s liquidators plan to this week announce the sale of the Orkney gold mine in South Africa to an unidentified company listed on the JSE Ltd., Business Report said, citing Johann Engelbrecht, one of the liquidators.
Wescoal Says Liquidation Application Set Aside, Pursues Claim
South Africa’s Wescoal Holdings Ltd. (WSL) said the North Gauteng High Court set aside an application by Sutha Civils Ltd. for the winding up of its Wescoal Mining (Pty) Ltd. unit.
Wescoal will be pursuing a “substantial” damages claim against Sutha, it said.
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