By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
The wind-up of the most recent Bahamian bank to be placed in court-supervised liquidation is “about 90 per cent done”, with a further $4 million dividend to creditors recently-approved.
Craig A. ‘Tony’ Gomez, the Baker Tilly Gomez accountant and partner, told Tribune Business he and his team “look forward to wrapping up” Leadenhall Bank & Trust Company’s liquidation “as soon as possible”.
“We’re close to the end,” Mr Gomez confirmed to this newspaper. “The liquidation started in 2005, and we have realised as many assets as we ever will, and are settling creditors’ claims.
“We have the second dividend the court has just approved, and once that is paid we will have barely sufficient funds to pay administrative costs for the liquidation and undeclared dividends.”
Leadenhall Bank and Trust’s balance sheet, as at May 31, 2014, shows cash on hand totalling some $4.974 million, plus an almost-$10,000 utility deposit.
The nearly $5 million, though, is equivalent to just 1.5 per cent of the $341.954 million still owing to Leadenhall’s creditors.
Most of that latter sum is owed to investors in the Cash 4 Titles Ponzi scheme, after the Bahamian courts ruled that a $330.228 million judgment they obtained against Leadenhall in the south Florida courts should be accepted by Mr Gomez.
Of the $15.635 million first dividend already paid by Mr Gomez, the bulk - some $14.49 million - went to Cash 4 Titles victims.
Given that they represent the bulk of the losses, this means that Leadenhall’s other creditors, who were close to recovering a good $0.80-$0.90 out of every $1 owed to them until the courts ruled that the $330.228 million Florida judgment be accepted, now appear likely to reclaim around $0.04 of every $1 owed.
Mr Gomez told Tribune Business that the Leadenhall winding-up “may have established one or two precedents here in the Bahamas”. While it is unclear what he was referring to, it is probable he was alluding to the Supreme Court decision on accepting the Cash 4 Titles judgment.
“This one was not a huge liquidation, but it was a technical one,” he added. “As far as liquidations go, it was not tremendously large, but it had issues.
“It’s another one that we’ve hopefully addressed in the right way, and settled creditors’ claims. In matters like this creditors are never fully satisfied, but we did what we were legally and ethically prescribed to do.
“We look forward to wrapping this up as soon as possible. We have some time, but about 90 per cent of the work is done.”
Mr Gomez said he was also due to meet with Leadenhall’s shareholders to advise them on the liquidation’s progress, “in accordance with standard liquidation procedures”.
The liquidator issued his notice of a second dividend declaration last week. His latest report to the Supreme Court on Leadenhall’s liquidation shows that $588,792 remains to be issued to creditors from the first dividend payment.
Elsewhere, Mr Gomez said he met with the South African Police Department to answer questions it had over Leadenhall’s “involvement in the operation of” Trend Management - a former client company which, together with its principal, is facing criminal charges in the South African courts.
Mr Gomez added that he had also been able to recover $501,524 in assets from Caledonia Corporate Management, a Bahamas-based broker/dealer also undergoing Supreme Court-supervised liquidation.
The sums recovered included $342,352 from selling securities held at Caledonia, and some $159,172 in assets mistakenly transferred from Leadenhall’s portfolio at HSBC to the broker/dealer.