Court extends freeze on Batelco's ex-India partner
Manama, August 7, 2014
A British court has indefinitely extended a worldwide freeze on assets of Batelco’s former Indian investment partner Siva Limited and its chairman Chinnakannan Sivasankaran.
The Bahrain-based international telecommunications group yesterday said its fully-owned subsidiary, Batelco Millennium India Company (BMIC), was successful in two applications on Tuesday before the English High Court as part of efforts to enforce a judgement by the same court, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication,
On June 12, the court had ordered the defendants, Siva Limited and Sivasankaran, to pay BMIC $185 million in addition to $30,000 per day from November 1, 2012, amounting to a total of $212 million.
Batelco yesterday said the court also ordered Sivasankaran to provide a further affidavit to BMIC on an expedited basis addressing apparent deficiencies with the statements of assets he has provided pursuant to the freezing order.
He has been ordered to provide comprehensive documentary disclosure about the nature, value and location of his assets globally and then to attend court to be cross-examined about those assets.
The worldwide freezing order will remain in place indefinitely whilst Batelco pursues Mr Siva for payment of the judgement award owed to BMIC.
Sivasankaran did not oppose the order.
“The defendants continued breach of their obligation to make payment means that Batelco and BMIC have no choice but to increase their legal enforcement efforts, wherever Sivasankaran and Siva Limited have a presence, to ensure the payment takes place,” Batelco Group chief executive Alan Whelan said.
“These successful applications confirm our resolve to have our debt fully and promptly paid.”
The dispute arose after Indian cellular joint venture STel had its operating licence cancelled by India’s Supreme Court in February 2012.
The licence was granted to STel in January 2008 and during 2009, BMIC paid $175 million to acquire 42.7 per cent in STel from Sky City Foundation, which is a hedge fund that was part of a consortium that also sold a 51 per cent stake in STel to Siva Limited in 2009.
BMIC and Siva Limited also entered into an option agreement in 2009, under which Siva Limited would have to buy BMIC’s stake in STel at the same price that BMIC had paid for the acquisition.
The agreement would come into force if BMIC failed to secure finance, or in the event that the licence granted to STel faced a threat.
In March 2012, Batelco announced it had agreed to sell its stake in STel back to Sky City Foundation, receiving the price paid to acquire the stake.
However, as no payment was forthcoming by the dealÕs deadline of end-October 2012, the following month BMIC commenced litigation in the UK against Siva Limited and Sivasankaran. - TradeArabia News Service