Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) was awarded about $14.6 million by a London judge in a dispute with a Singapore-based investor over shares it held as collateral on a loan.
James Hong Gee Ho, former executive director of Blumont Group Ltd. (BLUM), who’d initially sued Goldman Sachs for failing to get the best price on his shares after a margin call, was ordered to pay the money by Judge David Mackie today. The amount included principal and interest on the loan.
Hong was one of several Singapore executives who got into payment disputes with Goldman Sachs after shares of Blumont, Asiasons Capital Ltd. (ACAP) and LionGold Corp. (LIGO) plunged during a stock rout in October.
Hong didn’t appear in court after Goldman Sachs’s legal team notified a law firm that had represented him that Goldman would ask to have the case dismissed, said Rebecca Loveridge, a lawyer representing the bank.
The law firm that had represented Hong, Wiggin LLP, didn’t return a telephone message and Hong didn’t respond to an e-mail sent to Blumont’s office in Singapore.
Loveridge said Hong’s lawsuit was a “tactic” to delay paying the money he owed. She said Hong hadn’t shown any interest in continuing the claim and a question had arisen about whether Wiggin continued to represent him. His original suit against the bank said Goldman Sachs failed to obtain the best price for his shares, Loveridge said.
“Goldman Sachs vigorously denied those claims,” Loveridge said. “There was never any dispute that he entered into that agreement.”
The judge declined to order Hong to make a payment toward an estimated 1 million pounds ($1.7 million) in fees and costs that Loveridge had requested because he said Goldman Sachs’s lawyers hadn’t presented evidence.
That figure was “ludicrous,” Mackie said. “You want the court to make an order of a million pounds? There’s been no trial.”
Hong stepped down as an executive director on July 20 for personal reasons, Blumont, which invests in minerals and energy, said in a statement dated July 18.
The case is James Hong Gee Ho v. Goldman Sachs International, case no. 14-17, U.K. High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division.
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