Investment Firm Runs into Three-Card Monte in Indonesia
Here they are
Owed hundreds of millions of dollars, international financier can’t get debtor to accept summons
After a record 562 ignored legal summons served on Nobuyoshi Fujisawa, the chief executive officer and controlling shareholder of J Trust Ltd. and on J Trust, a Tokyo-based firm that now controls the remains of the ill-starred Indonesian Bank Century, the process server finally taped them to the front door of Fujisawa’s Singapore residence.
The notice of summons still hasn’t been answered, according to a spokesman for Weston International Capital Subsidiaries, which is seeking to reclaim US$120 million allegedly owed by JTrust to Weston, a close end investment company that collects on distressed assets for banks, institutions and other unsuspecting and defrauded creditors.. Attempts to contact J Trust have included letters, emails, FedEx, DHL, fax and personal deliveries, Weston says.
Weston has been frustrated since 2011 in the attempt to find the remains of US$725 million it took over from the Netherlands-based bank ING. Weston has chased the money from Japan to Singapore to Switzerland to Cyprus and to a number of other unknown countries, to no avail after winning a judgment in Mauritius, the home of the hedge fund’s asset-reclamation subsidiary. It is now suing in Singapore, hence the legal summons.
The investment company alleges the Bank Century debt it bought has repeatedly disappeared into companies spread across the world, even after Weston has won court judgments that should tie up the funds via so-called Mareva injunctions, which freeze assets owed after the judgments. Despite Mareva injunctions in London and New York, the funds disappear.
“J Trust Co. Ltd is a publicly listed company on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and has already lied to receiving 562 different forms of service and therefore it has violated Tokyo Stock Exchange requirements for not disclosing material events on a timely basis to the Tokyo Stock Exchange and their common stock holder,” said John Liegey,Weston’s managing director. “In fact, their Singaporean lawyers, TSMP, accepted service on Nov. 27, 2015 being 7 days before their public disclosure dated December 4, 2015
To say J Trust’s Indonesian unit has been uncooperative is an understatement. Weston has been trying unsuccessfully to find out for months what entities own Bank JTrust, the Indonesian entity. On Dec. 4, J Trust issued a statement saying it had learned about Weston’s attempts to bring it to court through the media and that it didn’t know the process servers were going to all that work.
J Trust, according to its press release, believes “the underlying claims made by the Weston Entities in the Mauritius Judgment are unfounded, and in addition…the Mauritius Judgment should not be effective in any countries where the company has assets.” On July 22, Bank JTrust Indonesia also said it “does not recognize the existence of any obligations referred to in the Mauritius Judgment and is of the view that the Mauritius judgment has no legal effect on Bank JTrust Indonesia.”
PT Bank Century TBK capsized in 2008 in what at that time was one of Indonesia’s bigger financial scandals, forcing the government to pour US$710 million into the bank out of fears that its collapse imperiled the entire domestic financial system. Most of that money also disappeared overseas. Subsequently the bank was taken over by the government and renamed Bank Mutiara and its beneficial owner, Robert Tantular, was sentenced to nine years in prison, which was recently increased to 10 years on money laundering and fraud charges.