March 7 (Bloomberg) -- The liquidators of Bernard Madoff’s English unit can share information with their counterparts in the U.S. about the finances of the convicted fraudster’s former business partner Sonja Kohn, a London court ruled.
It is “overwhelmingly in the public interest” for U.K. administrators to hand over details of Kohn’s assets to New York trustee Irving Picard as part of efforts to return money to victims of the fraud, Judge Julian Flaux said today.
Liquidators of Madoff’s estate are trying to recover at least $80 million from the directors of his firm’s U.K. unit and others who profited from the Ponzi scheme. Madoff, 73, is serving 150 years in prison in North Carolina for the fraud that caused his New York-based firm to collapse in December 2008 sparking investigations and dozens of lawsuits.
Kohn, the former chairwoman of Bank Medici AG, made about $56 million introducing clients to Madoff, according to a prior ruling from Flaux. She is also the subject of lawsuits in the U.S. and Gibraltar, he said.
Her lawyer, Trevor Asserson, declined to comment after the hearing.
Madoff’s sons Mark, who committed suicide in 2010, and Andrew are also being sued by U.K. liquidators because of their role as directors of Madoff Securities International Ltd. Their lawyer Clare Reffin this morning asked the judge for more time to plan a defense.
“We don’t know what’s going to be said against us,” she said. “The case against us seems to depend on rather vague allegations,” linked to the fact they are related to Madoff, she said.
Seat Pagine Gets Full Backing From Creditors for Debt Plan
Seat Pagine Gialle SpA, Italy’s largest phone-book publisher, said its debt restructuring plan won the backing of more than 97 percent of senior bondholders, the last class of creditors required to approve the proposal.
Senior bondholders now have to “formally” give their consent to the plan at a meeting to be scheduled for March 29 or 30, the Turin, Italy-based company said in a statement. The plan has already been endorsed by more than the required threshold of junior noteholders and senior lenders, it said.
Once creditors give consent, “it will be possible to proceed with the implementation of the restructuring transaction,” Seat Pagine said in the statement. The company got “full support” for the debt proposal from controlling investors CVC, Permira Advisers Ltd. and Investitori Associati SpA.
Seat Pagine has been seeking backing from at least 75 percent of its creditors on a final proposal for the company’s debt reorganization. The board gave creditors until 5 p.m. London time today to accept the restructuring plan.
Denmark’s Fifth Bank Rescue Won’t Prevent Insolvency Crisis
Denmark’s fifth bank rescue package since 2008 won’t help lenders struggling with insolvency, the head of the country’s resolution agency said.
Lawmakers agreed to allow banks, including FIH Erhvervsbank A/S, to transfer agricultural and property loans to state agencies in an effort to bring to an end a dearth of credit that’s squeezing businesses and farms and threatening the economy. While the package should help stabilize businesses and some lenders, it won’t help banks at the edge of insolvency, said Henrik Bjerre-Nielsen, chief executive officer of Financial Stability Co.
“This is applicable only for well-capitalized banks facing potential liquidity problems,” he said in a March 2 telephone interview.
The government also said it would provide at least 36 billion kroner ($6.4 billion) in loans and guarantees to businesses. The Nordic country is struggling with a worsening banking crisis as the fallout from a burst housing bubble deepens, depressing spending and souring farm and business loans. Depositors are fleeing regional banks for larger lenders including Sydbank A/S. At the same time, regulators are pushing for tougher capital requirements and the banks need to repay about $30 billion kroner in state-backed debt by 2013.
In response, banks are cutting lending, helping push corporate bankruptcies to a 14-month high in January and triggering warnings from the Confederation of Danish Industry that more businesses will go under. Still, “any notion” the number of troubled banks will get smaller can be dispelled, Ulrik Noedgaard, director general of the country’s watchdog, Financial Supervisory Authority, said in January.
Lawmakers agreed to create a finance agency that will be able to take banks’ agriculture loans, including those held by the Financial Stability Co., and offer credit to farmers with sustainable businesses. The agency will get starting capital of 300 million kroner.
Legislators will allow the Financial Stability Co. to buy property loans from banks on a “case by case basis” after approving the agency’s purchase of FIH’s 16 billion-krone loan portfolio. The purchase will reduce the amount of state-backed debt the Copenhagen-based commercial bank needs to repay by 2013 to about 27 billion kroner from 42 billion kroner, Bjerre-Nielsen said.
Vinashin in Talks With Mitsubishi Heavy on Sale of Stake in Unit
Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group is in talks with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and other foreign companies as it seeks to sell stakes in units to help pare debts and restructure operations.
State-owned Vinashin, as the shipbuilder is known, is talking to Mitsubishi Heavy about a diesel-engine unit in the northern port city of Haiphong, Chairman Nguyen Ngoc Su said. Officials from the two companies met in February during an industry exhibition in Hanoi, he said.
“We’re willing to sell them a majority stake in the unit if they are interested,” Su said. “We are open, and welcome any foreign investors who want to buy stakes in our units, or invest in our uncompleted projects.”
Vietnam’s biggest shipbuilder is restructuring operations after almost collapsing with debts of about 86 trillion dong ($4 billion) as of June 2010. The Hanoi-based company’s failure to make payments on a dollar-denominated loan that year roiled the nation’s debt markets, prompting the government to order it to focus on its main business.
Mitsubishi Heavy has been providing technical support to Vinashin for building diesel ship engines since 2005, said Hideo Ikuno, a spokesman for the Tokyo-based company. He couldn’t immediately confirm whether talks on buying a stake in the engine unit were underway.
Solon Assets Sold to Microsol as Liquidator Accepts Binding Bid
Microsol Inc.’s binding offer for assets of Solon SE, including most of the employees, global brand rights, research and development, production in Berlin, and sales operations, was accepted by the German company’s liquidator. Solon shareholders aren’t expected to participate in the revenue to be achieved, it said.
-- With assistance from Kit Chellel in London, Chiara Remondini in Milan, Angela Cullen in Frankfurt, Frances Schwartzkopff in Copenhagen, Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen in Hanoi. Editor: Christopher Scinta
To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Brunsden in Brussels at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@Bloomberg.net.