Patrick Wong stands to collect $42m from RIPEL deal
PATRICK Wong – the Malaysian businessman who engineered the takeover of Russell Islands Plantations Estate Ltd (RIPEL) for nothing – stands to walk away with about SBD42 million in return for relinquishing his 20 percent stake in the RIPEL deal, New South Wales Supreme Court records have shown.
The 20 percent share is probably valueless, given that RIPEL has not traded since 2002.
According to court records, Mr Wong and his entities would receive a non-refundable deposit of USD250,000 (SBD2 million), a further USD1.75 million (about SBD14 million) and a final payment of SBD15 million.
The Court heard that the final amount could be as high as AUD5.34 million or about SBD42 million.
Dutchman Van Vlymen, a one-time business partner of Mr Wong in the RIPEL business deal, was ordered by the Court to pay Mr Wong or face potential bankruptcy for failing to honour the terms of their Joint Venture Agreement.
Under the Court decision, Mr Wong, now living in Australia, will forfeit his power of veto in the RIPEL deal once the full amount is paid.
It follows a successful case which Mr Wong had mounted against Mr Vlymen. The Court found Mr Vlymen had failed to honour his part in a Joint Venture arrangement both men had entered into.
Under the substantive terms of the deal hammered out between Mr Wong and Mr Vlymen, the Van Vlymen entities are to pay the Wong Entities a non-refundable deposit of USD250,000 (about SBD2 million) upon execution of the Settlement Agreement.
The court ruled that, “As soon as possible thereafter, but in any event within 120 days of execution of the Settlement Agreement, on a date to be agreed (Completion):
- The VV (Van Vlymen) Entities are to pay to the Wong Entities (as directed by
them) a further USD1.75 million;
- The VV Entities are to pay to the Wong Entities (as directed by them) a further sum…of [SBD15 million]…and
- The Wong Entities are to transfer their entire interests (including indirect
interests) in the JV and any business relationship between them, unencumbered, and relinquish all directorship.”
The NSW Supreme Court heard the case on February 22 – 24, 2016, and ordered written submissions to be made to the Court on 24 and 29th February, 2016.
Mr Vlymen’s lawyer was unsuccessful in her argument that the contract between Mr Wong and Mr Vlymen contained implied term that fulfilling the contract was subject to finance.
But the Court ruled that performance of Contract does not have implied term that performance is subject to finance.
It ordered specific performance of the agreement, which in monetary term could cost around the Van Vlymen entities some AUD5.34 million (about SBD42 million).
The ruling caused a rattle within the DCC Government, which approached the Solomon Islands Ports Authority to borrow $50 million two weeks ago because Mr Vlymen’s deadline to make the deposit fell on 28 February this year.
The Government’s request was denied. A similar request by the Office of the Prime Minister to the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund for a $150 million loan suffered the same fate.
A Good Samaritan from abroad reportedly came to the aid of the government by providing the initial deposit of USD250, 000 in return for Mr Wong’s 20 percent stake in RIPEL.
In the interim the government now holds the 20 percent stake in RIPEL.
It is understood Mr Vlymen is hoping to complete the outstanding payments to Mr Wong from $50 million in cost awarded against the Government for the Hell’s Point land, east of Honiara.
But lawyers said the government did not have to pay anything because no court decision is enforceable against the State.