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Nicholas wins in Mora Ven lawsuit
Three years after he reserved judgment in a case that began in 2002, temporary High Court Judge Sebastian Ventour came out of retirement for a day on Thursday to deliver a 112 page judgement in favour of former Caribbean Airlines chairman George Nicholas III. The matter was filed in May 2002 by Nicholas, who at the time was chairman of Mora Ven Holding Ltd (MVHL) and Mora Oil Ventures Ltd (MOVL), against ousted chairman Krishna Persad and his company Krishna Persad and Associates Ltd (KPA).
In the lawsuit Nicholas made six claims against Persad of oppression contrary to Section 242 of the Companies Act Chapter 81:01. Ventour said the law was clear that a director of a company had a duty to avoid conflicts of interest and if this is not so, the company could seek to relieve him. “On the evidence adduced by the plaintiffs (Nicholas and the companies) I am satisfied that the case of oppression has been properly established,” he said.
Nicholas had argued that Persad removed US$600,000 from MOVL to a Nova Scotia account; that he inappropriately and unjustifiably spent funds; took loans out on MOVL account that were made available to Persad and his company; failed to pay royalties to the Government in accordance with the terms of the Exploration and Production licence; withheld sensitive information relating to pricing contrary to the Securities Act and among other acts.
Ventour also ruled that Persad breached his fiduciary functions in allowing KPA to conduct operations of MOVL that disregarded the interest of Nicholas and the shareholders of MOVL and MVHL. In a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian, Nicholas said he was happy with the decision of the judge and the companies and shareholders could now move on.