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Threat of Asset Dissipation Justifies $11.25 Million Worldwide Freezing Order

Worldwide freezing orders (WFOs) impinge heavily on the freedoms of those against whom they are made, and that is why judges will only grant them if there is a real risk of wrongdoers dissipating their assets. That stringent test was, however, met in the case of a finance professional who had made no attempt to discharge a judgment debt totalling more than $11 million.

AlpsThe man had been ordered to pay more than $9.9 million, plus interest, together with legal costs of $1 million, to a company after a judge found that he had engaged in bribery and dishonestly assisting another in breaching his fiduciary duty. A WFO was later granted in respect of his assets, to a value of $11.25 million. In seeking to have that order set aside, however, he argued that there was no evidence that he would otherwise take steps to dissipate his assets.

The company expressed suspicions about his transfer of a valuable Swiss property to his wife. However, the High Court found that it had not been established that the transaction was anything other than legitimate and genuine, having been made in the context of his divorce. The Court also noted that he had, in all but one respect, complied with an order requiring him to disclose his assets.

In leaving the WFO in place, however, the Court noted that, previously in the proceedings, findings of serious dishonesty had been made against him. He had created sham documents and had been shown to be adept at transferring assets surreptitiously by the use of complex corporate structures. In the circumstances, there was a real and continuing risk that, unless restrained, he would seek to put his assets beyond the company’s reach.



 
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