Bahrain Telecommunications Co (Batelco) has managed to get a worldwide freeze on assets owned by serial entrepreneur and billionaire C Sivasankaran after his group firms missed a deadline to pay $212 million to the Bahrain telecom firm as per an order passed by an English High Court over a case related to S Tel.
Batelco had sought a full repayment of $212 million awarded by a British court against Indian born business tycoon C Sivasankaran and his Siva group of companies, following a litigation suit in its favour against the latter in England.
The judgment, made in the Commercial Court of the English High Court of Justice, upheld the claim of BMIC Limited, a fully-owned subsidiary of Batelco, it said in the statement. The Court held that the defendants — Sivasankaran and Siva Ltd — 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 court had ordered the defendants to pay the money by June 26, 2014. However, both Siva Ltd and Sivasankaran failed to comply with the court’s order and did not make any payment as of now, it added.
“The defendants are now in breach of the court’s ruling, and we require immediate payment of the full judgment,” said Batelco Group CEO Alan Whelan, in a statement.
Sivasankaran and Siva Ltd have been issued a ‘freeze order’ wherein they are required to disclose their assets globally.
“We will pursue all legal avenues available to us wherever Mr Sivasankaran and Siva Ltd have assets, to secure this payment assisted by the worldwide freezing order which we obtained from the English High Court on July 16, 2014,” the statement said.
BMIC had originally acquired a 42.7 per cent equity stake of India-registered S Tel in 2009. S Tel was awarded a 2G licence in 2008. Soon after the cancellation of 2G licence of the company, along with 121 other operators, by the Supreme Court of India in February 2012, BMIC sought to implement an agreed put option.
As per the agreement, it was decided that under certain circumstances like cancellation of S Tel’s 2G licence or failure to secure debt finance, Siva will have to buy back the shares acquired by BMIC at the original paid price. However, Siva failed to do so, which led BMIC launching legal proceedings.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)