November 6, 2023 –WILLEMSTAD – The Court of Appeals in Willemstad has rejected the request from insurer Ennia, represented by the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten, to appeal in cassation against an interlocutory judgment in the liability case against majority shareholder Hushang Ansary and former board members. The Court believes that the appeal against Ansary is progressing expeditiously and sees no need for direct cassation.
The decision means that the Court adheres to its own judgment, and the case is scheduled for a hearing on December 5. On this date, the focus will be on appointing an expert to assess the value of Mullet Bay between 2009 and 2018. This is a broader period than when the contested ‘excessive’ dividend payouts by Ennia/CBCS occurred and is important for the pending discussions regarding compensation to commissioners.
The value of Mullet Bay is crucial for the final decision of the Court of Appeals.
Mullet Bay is a plot of land in Sint Maarten that Ansary brought into Ennia as an asset. The property is a golf resort and timeshare location that was severely damaged by Hurricane Luis in 1995. Only one hotel remained, and the rest of the land was not further developed. Mullet Bay was included in Ennia’s financial statements for significant amounts, much of which was withdrawn from the company by Ansary. The exact amount that was withdrawn must now be determined.
The parties have been called upon by the Court to come up with a joint proposal for the appointment of an appraiser. If they cannot agree, the Court will appoint an appraiser itself.
In the interlocutory judgment of September 12, as in the first instance, Ansary was once again ordered to pay compensation, this time amounting to approximately 250 million guilders. Although this amount is considerably lower than the originally claimed billion, the Court deems an appraisal of Mullet Bay in Sint Maarten essential for determining Ansary’s self-enrichment.
The Central Bank may still be critical of the need for this appraisal. According to their interpretation of the Court’s judgment, which found that the dividend payouts were not in accordance with the law and articles of association, the Court could and should have decided that the payments should be fully refunded without the need for further investigation into the valuation of Mullet Bay.
Ennia/Central Bank had hoped that an interim cassation by the Supreme Court would expedite the process, but the Court is not convinced and rejects the request, resulting in the proceedings continuing through the usual legal process.