MF Global, Polly Peck’s Nadir, Sean Quinn Contempt: Bankruptcy

MF Global Holdings Ltd. Chapter 11 trustee, Louis Freeh, was given the right by a London judge to participate in all U.K. court proceedings involving the failed brokerage.

Judge David Richards signed off on the application at a hearing today. Freeh has filed a London lawsuit against the administrators of the company’s U.K. unit seeking about $400 million from internal repurchase agreements used to move money around the company.

Legal disputes between multiple trustees winding up MF Global’s British and American entities have tied up about $1.1 billion of clients’ and creditors’ money, which can’t be returned until courts decide who controls the assets. MF Global filed the eighth-largest U.S. bankruptcy on Oct. 31 after getting margin calls for its bets on European debt.

A separate $700 million case between U.K. administrators KPMG LLP and the trustee of the MF Global U.S. brokerage unit over disputed assets is set to go ahead in London in April.

Ex-Polly Peck CEO Nadir Says Fled U.K. Charges a ‘Broken Man’

Asil Nadir, the former Polly Peck International Plc chief executive accused of fraud, said he fled Britain in 1993 as a “broken man” with no hope of receiving a fair trial.

Nadir, accused by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office of stealing 150 million pounds ($234 million) from the company, returned to London from Turkish-controlled Northern Cyprus in August 2010 to face the fraud charges after a U.K. judge agreed to grant him bail if he did so.

Testifying today for the first time, more than five months after his trial began, Nadir denied stealing from the company he built and said that lawsuits against him by the company’s administrators left him bankrupt.

“By the time I left the United Kingdom, I was a totally broken man, my health was in tatters, my hope of a fair trial was in tatters,” Nadir, 71, said.

Prosecutors allege that between 1987 and 1990 Nadir and his associates withdrew money from the now-defunct electronics and food-packaging firm’s U.K. accounts, funneling it to Swiss and Bahamian companies. When London-based Polly Peck collapsed in 1990, its administrators found more than 700 million pounds owed to creditors was unrecoverable from units of the company, which Nadir built up during the 1980s by expanding into electronics and hotels and acquiring the Del Monte fruit brand.

Former Irish Richest Man Sean Quinn Found in Contempt of Court

Bankrupt Irish businessman Sean Quinn, once the country’s richest man, may face “punitive and coercive” sanctions after being found in contempt of court by an Irish judge.

Quinn, his son Sean and nephew Peter Darragh Quinn continued to place assets outside the reach of nationalized Irish Bank Resolution Corp., formerly Anglo Irish Bank Corp., after the court ordered them to stop last year, Judge Elizabeth Dunne said today. Both sides will return to court on June 29 after considering the ruling.

“It will be very difficult to persuade me that there would not be a punitive element as well as a coercive element” to remedies to the contempt,” she said. “Sean Quinn was a witness who was evasive and uncooperative.”

Quinn told reporters that he wasn’t dishonest, declining to answer any more questions. The former cement-to-insurance tycoon was declared bankrupt in January, two months after a court ruled Quinn owed IBRC 2.16 billion euros. Quinn was worth about $6 billion in 2008, Forbes magazine said.

In April of last year, Anglo Irish seized control of the equity interest in Quinn Group (ROI) Ltd. Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group Inc. and Anglo Irish also took over Quinn Insurance Ltd. as Quinn was ousted from the debt-laden empire built up from the sand quarrying operation he set up on his father’s farm in 1973.

BTA Bank Directors Chosen by Creditors Will Be Paid in Advance

BTA Bank, the Kazakh lender that plans to restructure its debt for the second time in as many years, will pay directors assigned by creditors in advance.

Remuneration for the first six months will be paid before the work has been completed, as recommended by BTA’s steering committee, according to the minutes of a meeting of the state-run lender’s shareholders posted today on the Kazakh stock exchange website. Shareholders voted unanimously for the measure June 21 in Almaty, the minutes show.

Sergey Babayan and Jacek Brzezinski were selected as directors representing the interests of creditors on BTA’s board after two previous representatives resigned following BTA’s failure to make a January interest payment on its July 2018 bonds. Sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna took over BTA in February 2009, two months before the nation’s largest lender at the time defaulted on $12 billion of debt.

BTA’s net loss for the year jumped to 1.308 trillion tenge ($8.8 billion) as of June 1, the central bank’s financial oversight committee said in a monthly report on its website.

Velvet Sky Airline in South Africa Liquidated, SAPA Reports

Velvet Sky, a low-cost South African airline, was liquidated by the Pietermaritzburg High Court on June 24, the South African Press Association reported, citing court proceedings.

The airline owes almost 100 million rand ($11 million) to creditors including BP Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd., the Johannesburg-based agency reported.

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