By Libya Herald reporter.
London, 17 September 2015:
The High Court in London . . .[restrict]is to start hearings on 9 October on the issue of who is the sole legitimate chairman of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA).
It has rejected the proposition in court that such a ruling would affect the UN-led political negotiations to form a National Unity Government and that the ruling should therefore be delayed.
The details have emerged from the 7 September court transcripts.
The ruling will be made as a result of the application in July by both contending parties for the appointment of a Receiver to deal with the ongoing LIA case against Goldman Sachs and Soc Gen.
The London High Court had granted the receivership in July on the basis that the issue of who is the sole legitimate chairman of the LIA is resolved.
The Receivership was extended on 7 September but the Court noted that the party contesting the legitimacy of the internationally recognized LIA Chairman, Hassan Bouhadi, were backtracking.
During the joint application in July both parties had agreed that the case against Goldman Sachs and Soc Gen should go ahead irrespective of the contest for LIA Chairman.
Moreover, it was also revealed in court that Abdulmagid Breish, who is challenging Bouhadi for the Chairmanship of the LIA, was indeed appointed by the expired General National Council (GNC).
This in-court acknowledgement by Breish’s legal representatives undermines Breish’s cause and claim that he was an apolitical appointment. It will be recalled that Breish had been removed from his post by the Political Isolation Law in June 2014 for having held a leadership position during the Qaddafi regime.
However, Breish is contesting this decision and would like to be reappointed as chairman of the LIA. Breish’s claim to the chairmanship of the LIA is intrinsically linked to the expired GNC and its ‘‘National Salvation Government’’.
An LIA chairman has to be appointed through a well-established procedural and legal process. It is the Board of Directors that is appointed by the Board of Trustees and the Board of Trustees is headed by the Libyan Prime Minister.
Unfortunately for Mr Breish Libya’s only internationally-recognized Prime Minister is Abdullah Thinni whose Board of Trustees has appointed Mr Bouhadi as LIA Chairman.
Bouhadi, in turn, has not asked the High Court to recognise him. He has ask the court to recognise the legitimacy of those who appoint him, and the governance structure of the LIA. ?By contrast, Breish has asked the courts to recognise him and in doing that he has to show that the GNC is the legitimate government of Libya and is recognised internationally in order for his case to succeed.
The judge noted his concern that Breish’s legal representatives were now ‘‘dragging their feet’’ and ‘’backtracking’’, and ‘’changing their position’’ on the Receivership issue in an attempt to delay the court ruling on who is the legitimate LIA Chairman.
Moreover the judge made it clear that if he had been told that a ruling would have affected the political dialogue he would have not appointed a Receiver for the Goldman Sachs – Soc Gen case. This may have also meant that the Goldman Sachs – Soc Gen case could have failed.
With regards to fears that the case may affect the Libyan political dialogue, the Judge noted that all sides except for the GNC had signed the initial peace agreement. Pertinently, the Judge also added that the Libyan Supreme Court ruling on the House of Representatives was a ‘’technical point’’ that did not challenge the free and fair elections.
“The court transcript of the recent London hearing presided over by Mr Justice Flaux outlines in black and white that Mr Breish’s claims are both disingenuous and reckless’’, a source at the LIA Media Department told Libya Herald.
‘‘The appointment of a Trustee in the vital Goldman Sachs and Soc Gen cases through a receivership application was granted on the basis that if there was no Government of National Unity within the court’s timescale, the parties proceeded to resolve the issue of authority to lead the LIA and if they failed to do so, they would be ordered to do so or the litigations may have fallen away completely’’.
‘’Mr Breish very publically accepted this situation. His most recent public statements and his legal representatives’ comments in court however, have gone back on what was agreed. His team confirmed in court last week that Mr Breish is sponsored by the GNC, whom Mr Justice Flaux conceded have frustrated the UN negotiations.’’
‘’The judge also criticised Mr Breish’s attempts to delay the progress required in the court and roundly rejected them, as there was consensus that to do so causes a significant risk to the receivership and its means to protect and preserve the London litigations.” [/restrict]