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Bank Battles to Enforce $243 Million Judgment Debt

Complex corporate structures which spread across the world can make enforcement of court judgments extremely difficult. However, in one case, the High Court did all it could to assist a bank in recovering a $243 million debt from an overseas company.

The bank had been awarded judgment against the company in that sum following a lengthy trial in London. The company’s sole director and shareholder had also been personally ordered to pay £34 million in legal costs. However, enforcement had proved difficult and litigation was continuing on both sides of the Atlantic.

The bank alleged that, in a bid to evade enforcement, the director had transferred about $896 million from the company to himself or other companies associated with him or his family. Other substantial assets were also said to have been put out of the bank’s easy reach and the director was alleged to have treated the company as his creature and its funds as his own.

In those circumstances, the director was ordered to produce documents which might assist the bank in tracing the company’s assets and to attend the Court in person to be orally examined by the bank’s lawyers. He challenged that order on a number of grounds, but the Court could detect no grounds which would justify setting it aside.