Apax Partners LLP’s Giancarlo Aliberti was accused in a lawsuit of defrauding investors who bought 1.5 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in Hellas Telecommunications debt after Apax and TPG Capital LP bought the Greek mobile telephone company in 2005.
Cortlandt Street Recovery Corp. filed two complaints today in federal court in Manhattan. One suit brought in conjunction with Wilmington Trust Co. seeks 268 million euros plus interest for defaulted so-called PIK notes issued by Hellas Finance. The other case asserts a claim for 83.1 million euros plus interest for defaulted subordinated notes issued by Hellas II.
Apax, based in London, and Fort Worth, Texas-based TPG acquired TIM Hellas in June 2005 for about 1.6 billion euros from Telecom Italia SpA. Hellas issued about 1.5 billion in debt in 2006, of which 1.2 billion euros was paid to the two private equity funds, according to the complaints, which also name as defendants Hellas Telecommunications and some of its units.
“Defendants acted in combination and agreement with one another to achieve a common purpose, namely, to borrow money as the Hellas defendants and bleed out money to the private equity defendants, thereby leaving the Hellas defendants with inadequate assets and defrauding, hindering and delaying creditors,” from obtaining repayment, Cortlandt Street said.
Apax and TPG weren’t named as defendants in the two complaints. Jared Stamell, a lawyer for Cortlandt Street, said in a phone interview that the two buyout firms were sued over the same matter in New York state court last year.
The new complaints were filed in federal court because Aliberti, one of the architects of the Hellas Telecommunications acquisition, and the entities created by Apax and TPG to hold the Greek company and issue debt avoided being served with the state court complaints, Stamell said.
Aliberti is a Milan-based partner with Apax’s Tech & Telecom team, according to the company’s website. He leads Apax’s activities in Italy, Turkey and Greece, according to the site. Apax and TPG sold TIM Hellas in 2007 to Weather Investments SpA, the holding company of Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, in a deal lead by Aliberti.
Todd Fogarty, a spokesman for Apax in New York, declined to comment on the lawsuits.
The cases are Cortlandt Street Recovery v. Aliberti, 12-8685 and 12-8686, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).