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India deal: Batelco seeks payment of $212m claim

Manama, July 21, 2014

Batelco Group, the Bahrain-based international telecommunications group with operations across 14 countries, has demanded full payment of the judgment debt totalling $212 million awarded by the English High Court of Justice against Chinnakannan Sivasankaran and Siva Limited (the defendants) following  successful litigation in England.

The judgment, made in the Commercial Court of the English High Court of Justice fully upheld the claim of BMIC Limited (a fully owned subsidiary of Batelco), said a statement.

The court held that the defendants had failed to honour a settlement agreement signed in November 2011 relating to a commercial venture into which both parties had entered in 2009. The defendants were ordered to pay the judgment debt by June 26, 2014. However neither Sivasankaran nor Siva Limited has complied with the court’s order as no payment has yet been made, said the statement.

BMIC originally acquired a 42.7 per cent stake of Indian registered S Tel in 2009. S Tel had been awarded a 2G Licence in 2008. Following the cancellation of 2G licences by India's Supreme Court in February 2012, BMIC sought to implement an agreed put option which under certain circumstances, such as the cancellation of S Tel’s  2G licence, or a failure by  Siva to secure debt financing, would ensure that Siva bought back the shares acquired by BMIC at the price paid originally. BMIC and the defendants entered into the binding settlement agreement to give effect to this commitment which contained a promise by Sivasankaran and Siva Limited to make payment to BMIC in agreed circumstances.

BMIC approached the English High Court on July 16 and successfully obtained a worldwide freezing order against the defendants’ assets globally and requiring Sivasankaran to give disclosure of his assets. It is Batelco's intention to take whatever enforcement action it considers appropriate against the defendants for full payment of the full judgment amount, it said.

Batelco Group CEO Alan Whelan said: “We had hoped that Mr. Sivasankaran and Siva Limited would honour the judgment and thus the terms of our original agreement. The defendants are now in breach of the court’s ruling and we require immediate payment of the full judgment. The court found no merit whatsoever in the arguments made by the defendants in the case and we cannot see why the payment has not been made. We will pursue all legal avenues available to us wherever Mr Sivasankaran and Siva Limited have assets, in order to secure this payment assisted by the worldwide freezing order which we obtained from the English High Court on July 16, 2014." - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Batelco | India | S Tel | Claim | Siva |

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