Harvard Ordered by Judge to Supply Prominent Donor's RecordsBy
Ruling stems from collapse of South Korean technology company
Investor seeking to force donor to pay judgment over collapse
Harvard University must disclose records about a prominent donor, the Hong Kong businessman Charles Spackman, after a federal judge ordered the school to produce information to an investor suing Spackman over a failed South Korean technology company.
U.S. District Judge William G. Young in Boston ruled that the Ivy League member must supply records about Spackman’s donations in response to a request by Sang Cheol Woo, a minority investor in the company that collapsed, Littauer Technologies Co. Woo has spent five years trying to collect a $4.5 million judgment entered by a court in Seoul against Spackman in 2011, which has grown to $12 million with interest.
Woo filed a suit in South Korea 14 years ago over the collapse of Littauer, alleging that Spackman, its founder, orchestrated a 2000 merger with a Bermuda-based company that he and his business partners controlled that led to the shares being delisted. Spackman fled to Hong Kong amid Littauer’s collapse and was later fined by South Korean authorities after failing to show up to contest charges of stock manipulation.
Spackman is the founder, chairman and CEO of Spackman Group Ltd., a Hong Kong-based holding company for companies such as Spackman Entertainment, a producer of movies including "Snowpiercer," a 2013 film starring Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton. He’s a 1994 graduate of Harvard and the sponsor of a scholarship fund that provides financial assistance for Asian students at the school. He’s the son of James C. Spackman, a former head of Prudential Financial Inc.’s Asian region.
Spackman Group didn’t immediately respond to a e-mailed request for comment on the ruling sent after normal business hours in Hong Kong. In a 2014 Speckman Entertainment regulatory filing, Spackman denied manipulating Littauer stock and paid the $40,000 fine because it was a "minor penalty," given the charges against him.
Young gave Harvard until March 20 to produce any checks or records of bank and wire transfers to or from Spackman or a family trust from October 31, 2013, to the present. He also ordered Spackman’s daughter, Claire, a Harvard student , to testify and produce similar documents. The Feb. 21 ruling was reported Thursday by the New York Times.
Melodie Jackson, a spokeswoman for Harvard, declined to comment.
The case is In re: application of Sang Cheol Woo for discovery, 17-mc-91036, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Boston.)
— With assistance by Michael McDonald