Resumption of Ennia and Ansary’s appeal tomorrow, no final ruling yet

October 23, 2023  –WILLEMSTAD – Tomorrow, the Willemstad Court of Appeal will resume the appeal proceedings for Ansary and his followers. A final decision is yet to be made in what is considered the largest financial scandal in the history of Curaçao, as indicated by the 143-page interim judgment. 

On the initial trial, the court awarded Ennia’s claims, totaling over one billion guilders. Today, the court has not reached a decision on some of Ennia’s claims but has made a preliminary decision. The parties can still challenge this tomorrow, but they will need highly convincing arguments to do so. 

The court has ruled that Ansary is liable for one of the investments in another American company of which he was also a director and one of the shareholders. Due to a specific transaction in 2014, Ennia’s shares were sold below their actual value, resulting in significant harm to Ennia and substantial financial gain for Ansary. 

In this case, the court has assessed the damages at approximately 117 million dollars. The court also holds Ansary and others liable for an investment in oil platforms in 2009. According to the court, this investment was inappropriate and unjustifiable for a company like Ennia, and they have estimated the damages at over 11 million dollars. 

These and other points are included in the conclusion of the judgment and not in the decision itself. The court’s conclusion indicates that the allocation of 117 million dollars is, in principle, grantable but remains conditional. Tomorrow will reveal how this defense is presented. 

Mullet Bay 

For the remaining claims, further investigation by an independent expert is required, and the parties must provide additional information. It remains to be seen whether this has been carried out, and if the court will receive clarification. 

Of paramount importance to the court is the value of Mullet Bay, a parcel of land in Sint Maarten that Ansary brought into Ennia as an asset. It represents a former golf resort and timeshare location. 

In 1995, Hurricane Luis struck Mullet Bay, leaving only a hotel, and the property was not further developed. Mullet Bay has been included in Ennia’s financial statements for substantial amounts, but the parties dispute its value. 

The court rules that Mullet Bay was unjustly included in the years when (dividend) payments were made for a value derived from insufficient appraisals. 

Hence, the legitimacy of the (dividend) payments cannot be assumed. On September 12, the Court stated that it cannot answer the question of whether Ansary and others are liable because it cannot rule out the possibility that, with a proper valuation, a (dividend) payment of any amount could have been legitimate. Tomorrow will reveal whether the parties have jointly engaged an appraiser, suggesting a new, realistic valuation is on the horizon. 

The Court finds that further expert guidance is necessary regarding the value that could reasonably be assigned to Mullet Bay in the relevant years. If it turns out that Ennia, due to overvaluation of Mullet Bay, made more payments to its shareholder than was legally and statutorily permissible, the court will later determine the amount to be (repaid) to Ennia. 

Excessive Expenditures 

The Court rules that expenses for donations or above-average travel and accommodation costs are only justified if Ennia has the financial capacity for them. 

Even if such capacity exists, the expense must still be justifiable and in the interest of Ennia. The Court holds Ansary and others liable for several items related to donations. It has been found that Ansary sponsored a Republican presidential candidate in the past with a million dollars from Ennia’s funds, which did not serve any corporate purpose. 

Furthermore, services unrelated to Ennia’s operations were provided. Ansary also claimed expenses for personal assistants, ‘ghost employees,’ and private planes. In the judgment, the Court considered an amount of nearly thirty million as grantable. 

A decision on the compensation of the commissioners and their travel and accommodation costs will only be made once the independent expert’s appraisal report on Mullet Bay becomes available. 

The resumption is scheduled for tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. in the courthouse in Willemstad. 

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