The liquidator of the bankruptcy estate of Baugur Group has filed a damages claim against the company’s former chairman Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson, demanding ISK 15 billion (USD 128 million, EUR 90 million) from him personally.
Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
The case has to do with when Baugur sold the Hagar conglomerate to the holding company 1998 at the end of June, 2008, in an alleged plot called Project Polo. The case is currently on trial, visir.is reports.
ISK 15 billion of the acquisition price went straight into buying stocks in Baugur that used to be owned by four companies, Gaumur, Gaumur Holding, ISP and Bague SA, all of which were in the ownership of Baugur board members.
The liquidator considers the stock in Baugur at that time to have been almost worthless and that Jóhannesson and his associates abused their position within Baugur to pocket its remaining worth before it went bankrupt.
Jóhannesson is the only board member being sued, as he is considered to hold “the most responsibility” for the company’s investments.
When probed by Fréttabladid, Jóhannesson called the case against him “ridiculous,” saying the sale of Hagar was initiated and organized by Baugur’s bank, Kaupthing. “Personally, I didn’t get a dime,” he stated.
Jóhannesson’s report on the case states that Baugur didn’t lose anything in Project Polo and that the purpose had not been to lower Baugur’s debt to Kaupthing.
Click here to read more about Baugur’s bankruptcy.