The longest commercial trial in the history of the Caribbean was recently completed in the British Virgin Islands. The litigation involved Colony Capital, Inc. (Colony), a Los Angeles-based real estate firm and Donald Sturm (Sturm), a Denver-based businessman, who were investors in Credicom Asia Limited (Credicom), an international business incorporated in the British Virgin Islands by French businessman, Clément Vaturi (Vaturi). Through subsidiaries, Credicom owned and operated several businesses with assets valued in excess of US$200 million.
In February, 1999, as a result of ongoing disputes with Vaturi, Colony and Sturm commenced proceedings in the High Court of the British Virgin Islands seeking the compulsory winding up of Credicom.The trial of the winding up petition commenced on May 17, 2000, and in late September, the dispute was settled with the payment of a very substantial undisclosed amount to Colony and Sturm.
Toronto’s McMillan Binch played a prominent role in the litigation, acting as lead litigation counsel for Colony and Sturm with a team lead by Paul Macdonald (litigation) and Andy Kent (insolvency), with assistance from Brad Hanna and Tracey Durand (litigation) and Waël Rostom (insolvency). The litigation team also included British Virgin Islands counsel J.S. Archibald, Q.C. of J.S. Archibald & Co. and Paul Webster and Dawn Smith of O’Neal Webster O’Neal Myers Fletcher & Gordon, as well as David Moldenhauer of New York’s Clifford Chance Rogers & Wells, Jeff Mitchell of New York’s Fischbein Badillo Wagner Harding and Bill Schwartz of New York’s Kronish Lieb Weiner & Hellman LLP.
Vaturi and his companies were represented by Selvyn Seidel of the New York office of Latham & Watkins, barristers Robin Dicker, Q.C. and Jeremy Goldring of London, England, and local counsel Gerard Farara, Q.C. and Tana’ania Small of Farara George-Creque & Kerins.
McMillan Binch also represented Colony and Sturm on the complex commercial transaction that resulted from the settlement with a team again lead by Andy Kent and Paul Macdonald, and with assistance from corporate/commercial lawyers Tracey Lazareth, Richard Higa and Tara D’Andrea. Vaturi was represented on the commercial settlement by a team lead by Selvyn Seidel and Donald Schwartz of Latham & Watkins’ Chicago office with assistance from Barry Sanders and Kristina Lockwood of Latham & Watkins’ Los Angeles office.