31 March 2017
On the application of a number of creditors, Hadley J. Chilton and Laurent Keeble-Buckle were jointly appointed as provisional liquidators (the “Provisional Liquidators”) of Hope Funds S.A. (“Hope Funds”), Marketsite Ltd. (“Marketsite”) and Global Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. (“GEE”)(together, the “Respondents”) pursuant to an Order of the Honourable Justice Kaye Q.C. of the High Court of the British Virgin Islands (“BVI”) on 16 March 2017.
The Provisional Liquidators are insolvency practitioners at Baker Tilly in the BVI, licenced by the BVI Financial Services Commission.
The purpose of the provisional liquidation in the BVI is to investigate the Respondents’ affairs and preserve the Respondents’ assets pending the hearing of the originating application to place the Respondents into liquidation in the BVI pursuant to the BVI Insolvency Act, 2003.
The Respondents and related principals, including Enrique Blaksley Señorans, have been parties to various lawsuits in Argentina, with creditors and criminal prosecutors alleging a variety of irregularities in relation to Hope Funds S.A. and related companies, and their management and business affairs. The Provisional Liquidators understand that Mr Blaksley, by his attorney Ramiro Rúa, has attempted a preventive extrajudicial agreement in Argentina – a further promise to pay creditors should an adequate majority sign an agreement not to pursue their rights against the company - seeking to avoid creditors instituting insolvency proceedings to recover their monies, but creditors do not see it as an attractive agreement and are doubtful of both Hope Funds’ ability and willingness to pay its debts.
Hope Funds and its related companies (including Marketsite and GEE) are believed to have thousands of creditors who may have invested over 100 million US Dollars in total.
The Provisional Liquidators are liaising with stakeholders and service providers to the Respondents as part of their investigations in order to protect the liquidation estates for the benefit of its creditors and shareholders.
Final BVI liquidation orders, if granted, would place a statutory moratorium on claims against the BVI domiciled respondents. Such liquidation proceedings are of universal effect and are designed to provide the most efficient and equitable mechanism for recovering the Respondents’ assets in order to maximize those assets for the benefit of the creditors’ and investors. BVI insolvency law is based on the pari passu principle, which applies in an international insolvency is to ensure, so far as it properly can, that the worldwide assets of the Respondents and the creditors and investors (wherever situated) of the liquidated companies are treated on a common and equitable basis. This process is designed to avoid derivative, flawed, convoluted or fragmented strategies by multiple parties which may impede or adversely affect the Respondents’ own asset recovery activities.
Various courses of action are available to a liquidator that are not available to creditors or investors directly. Not least, a court-appointed liquidator will have all of the investigatory powers enshrined in the BVI Insolvency Act, 2003 (including the statutory power to examine the officers and former officers of the Respondents) and the power to seek recognition of the BVI insolvency proceedings in other jurisdictions, giving both an extra-territorial reach, and potential access to foreign courts.
Stakeholders who were considering taking action in respect of the activities and assets of the Respondents and its management, or who have information which is useful or pertinent in that regard are cordially invited and encouraged to contact the Provisional Liquidators directly.
Baker Tilly in the British Virgin Islands is an independent member firm of Baker Tilly International, one of the world’s top ten international accountancy networks.
Should stakeholders wish to discuss the Hope Funds case with the Liquidators or submit relevant information, they may do so at firstname.lastname@example.org.