Thousands of workers employed in the CL Financial Group are facing a jobless future as Government moves to wind up the company because of a $15 billion debt.
First step is that Government applied to the High Court to appoint joint liquidators for CL Financial, and that hearing is fixed for Monday.
The court is being asked to appoint Hugh Dickson and Marcus Wide of international accounting firm Grant Thornton as joint provisional liquidators.
The application is in conjunction with action taken by Government last Tuesday when it petitioned the High Court to have CL Financial wound up because it is unable to pay its $15 billion debt. That winding up hearing is set for July 25.
But former chairman of CL Financial and majority shareholder, Lawrence Duprey, has accused Government of unlawful control of CL Financial and CLICO and seeking to destroy them out of spite.
In a media release on Saturday, Duprey said Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert, has said Government is protecting taxpayers by seeking to wind up CL Financial (CLF).
He added, “If they wanted to do that they would have let CLF repay CLICO’s debts years ago. The country would have been better off without this money outstanding. The company would have been better off returning to generating more foreign exchange and profits than any other local company outside of the state sector. The Government was only given control of CLF in order to ensure that debts owed by CLICO were repaid. They seem to have moved on to assuming ownership.”
“To support that, they have refused to disclose any meaningful financial data, even to the company’s ultimate owners. What have they got to hide? Why can’t we find out how this vast sum of money has been spent?” He claimed the attempt to shut down CLF, and ultimately CLICO was not about protecting taxpayers in the slightest.
“Instead, it is a continuation on of the unlawful control of CLF and CLICO and a spiteful decision to destroy them rather that seeing taxpayers and policyholders repaid and shareholders having their very valuable company returned.
We should also remember that the legal basis for this entire exercise was the protection of policyholders and depositors on the one hand, and elimination of the risk of contagion in the economy on the other. This action by the government goes directly against that.”
He added, “Despite any personal differences, we must all now support any action that parties take to truly defend the interests of taxpayers.
I’m already speaking with representatives of all affected groups and look forward to assisting in any tangible way that I can.”
THE CL FINANCIAL DEBT
CL Financial’s management records show it is unable to pay its $15 billion debt.
The $15 billion is the balance owed to the Government for its bailout of CLF subsidiary CLICO in 2009.
The bailout has cost taxpayers $23 billion in total.
At present, CLF’s liabilities exceed its assets by $3.4 billion, according to its 2017 management records.
CLF’s management records for 2015 to 2017 formed the basis of an affidavit submitted by Colin Soo Ping Chow, director of Ernst & Young Services Ltd, in support of the State’s case that the conglomerate is insolvent and should be wound up to pay taxpayers.