Government going after Clico for TT$20 billion
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Monday May 21, 2012 – Trinidad and Tobago Finance Minister Winston Dookeran has gone on record to state that his government has put in a claim to CL Financial for an estimated TT$20 billion before the expiration of the Shareholders Agreement in three weeks' time.
The Shareholders Agreement which was signed on June 12, 2009, succeeded the Memorandum of Understanding of January 30, 2009 signed between the Government, CLF and the Central Bank.
The Shareholders Agreement allows the Government to have controlling interest of the CL Financial board.
Government appointed directors on the CL Financial board include former Citibank executive Steve Bideshi, Krishna Boodhai and Marlon Holder while former finance minister Gerald Yetming is chairman of both CL Financial and CLICO. Steve Castagne and Andrew Mitchell, QC were voted on the board by the shareholders.
It was Government's guarantee for a return on its bailout of Lawrence Duprey's companies that made up CL Financial.
Dookeran told local media over the weekend that his ministry was being advised by a team of lawyers from the United Kingdom on its negotiationss with CL Financial.The lawyers, explained Dookeran, will negotiate with a limited liability company called United Shareholders Ltd (USL) which was established by Kirk Carpenter and Roger Duprey following agreement by CL Financial shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting held on May 16.
A resolution was also passed for the CL Financial board to form a shareholders' sub-committee, consisting of individuals appointed by USL.
That committee, it was reported, shall have the authority to negotiate and recommend to the CL Financial board any agreement, consent, extension or any other documentation supplemental to or derived from the Memorandum of Understanding of January 30, 2009 and the Shareholders' Agreement of June 12, 2009.
CL Financial chairman Gerald Yetming is currently in London to take part in arbitration proceedings brought against the Government by foreign holdings company Consolidated Energy Ltd for its shareholding of Methanol Holdings Trinidad Ltd.
To date, the government has reportedly transferred TT$8.2 billion in cash and bonds to the CLICO policyholders and has spent an estimated $17 billion on CL Financial and its subsidiaries.