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Apax MD ‘defrauded investors’ through €1.2bn Hellas debt payback, lawsuit claims

30 Nov 2012

Apax Partners managing director Giancarlo Aliberti has been accused of defrauding investors who bought €1.5bn ($1.3bn) of shares in Hellas Telecommunications in two lawsuits filed today.

Documents filed in the US by Cortlandt Street Recovery Corp allege Aliberti colluded with others to “bleed” money out of the Greek telecoms operator into funds managed by Apax and TPG Capital, which bought the company for €1.6bn in June 2005, according to Bloomberg.

The report said Hellas issued about €1.5bn in debt a year later, €1.2bn of which was paid to the two firms, thereby leaving other investors in Hellas with “inadequate assets” and “defrauding, hindering and delaying creditors” from receiving payment.

One lawsuit has been filed in conjunction with Wilmington Trust Co, which is seeking €268m plus interest for defaulted PIK notes issues by Hellas Finance, while the other is a claim for €83.1m plus interest for defaulted subordinated notes issues by Hellas II.

Cortlandt Street lawyer Jared Stamell told Bloomberg the two buyout firms were sued over the same matter in New York state court last year, but were not listed as defendants in the latest filings.

An Apax spokesperson said, “The complaints filed in federal court are merely a rehash of the ill-founded claims filed by these same plaintiffs in state court in 2011.

“As the plaintiffs presumably know, Apax and TPG sold Hellas to a third party for €3.4bn euros at virtually the same time the plaintiffs claim that Hellas was insolvent.

“Moreover, it was not until approximately three years later that the Hellas notes went into default.

“For these reasons and others, we are confident that plaintiffs’ claims will not succeed.”

Aliberti is a partner in the Tech & Telecom team at Apax, according to the firm’s website. He currently leads activities in Italy, Turkey and Greece.

He joined the firm in 2000 and is based in Milan.

Yesterday it emerged Apax and Providence Equity Partners had been linked with a deal for French media company Vivendi’s Brazilian broadband business GVT which could top €6bn.

A group of private equity funds are reported to be clubbing together to make a preliminary bid for the company, as are satellite group DirecTV and Mexican telecoms giant America Movil,

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