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‘Baha Mar Sale Is A Fabrication’

Baha Mar’s original developer Sarkis Izmirlian.

Baha Mar’s original developer Sarkis Izmirlian.

By SANCHESKA DORSETT

Tribune Staff Reporter

sdorsett@tribunemedia.net

SARKIS Izmirlian criticised the transfer of Baha Mar’s assets to Perfect Luck Holdings Ltd yesterday, calling the sale to the special purpose vehicle created by the Export-Import Bank of China (CEXIM) an “intricate fabrication”.

And nearly two weeks after making a “bona fide” offer to buy Baha Mar, Mr Izmirlian, CEO of BMD Holdings Ltd, said he found it “bizarre” that he has received no response to the “superior proposal”.

In fact, in a letter addressed to Liu Liange, vice-chairman and president of CEXIM, Mr Izmirlian said not only has the bank not acknowledged receipt of the proposal, but “nor has anyone associated with either the bank, the receivers, or Perfect Luck,” made contact with him.

Mr Izmirlian is the original developer of Baha Mar.

In a letter dated October 10, Mr Izmirlian made an offer to purchase the stalled $3.5 billion resort “at a price in excess” of the current undisclosed bid.

Mr Izmirlian said BMD Holdings is prepared to pay 100 per cent of all “substantiated” Bahamian claims and all money owed to Bahamians and foreign employees.

He also previously said BMD Holdings will drop “all of our appeals and legal actions in effect within the Bahamian courts” upon acceptance of the offer.

One week after the proposal, Prime Minister Perry Christie urged Mr Izmirlian to work with Perfect Luck Holdings Limited, if the resort developer is in a position to make a “credible proposal” to buy the property as he has suggested.

Yesterday, Mr Izmirlian said it makes neither economic sense nor is it in the best interests for the future of Baha Mar, or The Bahamas, that not one of these related parties “have engaged with us to discuss our proposal.”

“It is indeed ‘extraordinary’ that the entire sale to Perfect Luck has been an intricate fabrication,” he wrote. “The fact that the receivers were not able to find an arm’s length buyer has nothing to do with the quality of the asset and everything to do with a process where bidders were not given information, and were forbidden to meet with stakeholders or to discuss the status of construction with any of the relevant parties.

“The fact that the Bahamian court signed off on the sale does not mean that a comprehensive and inclusive process was followed. It only means that your lawyers were able to craft a story sufficiently plausible for the bank to sell Baha Mar to itself and conduct a further sale of Baha Mar in even more secrecy.

“Today, Bahamians are still waiting,” he added. “Construction has not restarted, and the mysterious real buyer has not been identified. So for the record, we reiterate our offer to purchase the Baha Mar assets. We have been in ongoing communication with many industry experts, operators and interested parties, many who have considered their options for pursuing Baha Mar. They, like us, question the sincerity of the process and the real goal of the appointed receivers. They also recognise the unique experience we bring to this significant project given the many hurdles that lie ahead.”

Mr Izmirlian urged the bank to “engage” with him to find a solution to the current impasse, “help Baha Mar open quickly and successfully, improve CEXIM’s economic position and maximise value for other stakeholders.”

He added: “At this stage no one feels lucky: the thousands of Bahamians out of a job, the contractors not paid, the foreign creditors ignored, the shareholder of CEXIM who is forced to take an enormous write-off on its debt.”

“We present the best option to complete the project and affirm the policy success of CEXIM. Together, we will have shown that even when faced with a challenge that we have found the solution and resolved the problem. Why not at least engage in a serious discussion with us to consider whether there is a pathway forward? President Liu, I repeat from my offer letter of two weeks ago: together, we can move ahead to a swift and mutually beneficial resolution for Baha Mar, which will result in the resort being open as soon as possible to serve the best interests of the Bahamas, as well as the bank. Now more than ever the country, in its time of need, requires us to come together.”

In August, Prime Minister Perry Christie announced that the government and CEXIM entered into an agreement to have Baha Mar completed and sold to a “world-class hotel and casino operator.” Last month, Mr Christie and a government delegation that travelled to London, England, to meet with investors were informed about the identity of the anticipated buyer for the beleaguered Baha Mar resort. However, he said he could not name the group because of the delicate stage of negotiations.

Under the terms of the agreement, Mr Christie said CEXIM has committed to funding the costs to finish the project and the resort’s general contractor, China Construction America (CCA) Bahamas, will complete outstanding work. He has also said CCA would also resolve outstanding claims with its suppliers and contractors.

Comments

BahamaPundit 2 years, 1 month ago

Another day, another 24 hours of silence. Wow. I guess the PLP have found their secret weapon -- say nothing at all. Meanwhile, the country sinks lower and lower in the mire of international opinion. Ease of doing business -- gone. Moodys -- gone. Financial services -- gone. Tourism -- on the way out...

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DDK 2 years, 1 month ago

Too sad! Too disgusting! Our poor Bahamas!

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Honestman 2 years, 1 month ago

What major foreign investor will ever show an interest in The Bahamas again? The Government's treatment of Izmirlian is beyond disgusting. Frankly, words are inadequate to describe the contempt many Bahamians feel towards The PLP over this and the complete ruination of our economy.

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bandit 2 years, 1 month ago

Government is not worried about major investors, they have the Chinese.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 1 month ago

All of this gobbledegook talk from Gowan Bowe, Wayne Munroe and others about stamp tax possibly not being payable on the Baha Mar transfer of ownership is misleading. The Stamp Tax Act was amended in 2005 to close many of the abusive loop holes that had existed up until that time. Whether the beneficial owner is resident or non-resident for exchange control, immigration or any other purpose is completely irrelevant. The only relevant factor is whether there has been any change in the ultimate beneficial ownership of the real property. As a result of the original Baha Mar developers being wrongfully stripped of their beneficial ownerhip of the development (by instigation of the corrupt Christie-led PLP government), ownership of the property has changed and now rests with a company incorporated in Hong Kong; a company that is purportedly majority owned and controlled by the China Export-Import Bank. There is no publicly available record showing who actually owns the Hong Kong company and the manner in which the change in beneficial ownership of the property was brought about should properly trigger the imposition of stamp tax on the transaction for the benefit of our Public Treasury. The China Export-Import Bank did not take temporary possession of the property in order to sell it to a third party; it took outright fee simple title to the property which presumably has been or is in the process of being recorded here in the Bahamas. Yes, we all want to know just how much Christie's Chinese friends were able to extort from him to our detriment at a time when we are confronted with Christie's $150 million add-on to our national debt in the run up to the next general election, to be followed by post-election new "special taxes" no matter what the outcome of the election. Crooked Christie, Allyson Maynard-Gibson aka the Evil Wicked Witch and Baltron "Bag Man" Bethel must each know who exactly are the principals behind the Hong Kong company, Perfect Luck Holdings Limited, given all the concerns they have touted in the past from a public policy perspective about protecting our sovereignty when it comes to the ownership of such a large project of national interest as the Baha Mar development.

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Reality_Check 2 years, 1 month ago

And to think Crooked Christie and his corrupt lackey James Smith would have us believe the China Export-Import Bank established an "ex gratia" fund out of which the partial settlement payments were recently made on a discriminate basis to certain Bahamian creditors only. What poppy cock! Crooked Christie's Chinese friends extorted him into giving up much much more of the Bahamian people's money (far in excess of the "ex-gratia" fund) by exploiting his maniacal ego and well known political vulnerability.

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jus2cents 2 years, 1 month ago

Selling out to China ....will 'disrupt the sovereignty of the country' way more than a bankruptcy ever could...Christie has a lot to answer for yet he stays mute.

How the Bahamas Handed Over Control of a National Dream to the Chinese Imagine spending a lifetime planning and dreaming and finally starting to build your dream home. You spend years building it, battling contractors and obsessing over every detail. But you finally get to the finish line. You’re down to the finishing touches when your contractors walk off the job and the town takes away your building permit. More....http://www.travelpulse.com/opinions/c...">http://www.travelpulse.com/opinions/c...

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 1 month ago

Crooked Christie, Allyson Maynard-Gibson aka the Evil Wicked Witch and Baltron "Bag Man" Bethel must each know who exactly are the principals behind the Hong Kong company, Perfect Luck Holdings Limited, given all the concerns they have touted in the past from a public policy perspective about protecting our sovereignty when it comes to the ownership of such a large project of national interest as the Baha Mar development.

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BahamaPundit 2 years, 1 month ago

This is a good point. The chapter 11 bankruptcy, no matter how financially costly and time consuming, would have been preferable to handing over Bahamas sovereignty to the Chinese. The Chinese know more about our country (Baha Mar ownership) than we do. The only persons who should vote PLP in the oncoming election should be Chinese, for they are the only ones who have received proper representatiin from Mr. Christie. They are his citizens, his chosen people; we Bahamians have been left in the dark.

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John 2 years, 1 month ago

Sarkis should have learned by now that his trying to deal with the Chinese one on one is like a lamb in the wilderness begging and pleading with a pack of hungry lions not to eat him. Understanding that he still has the interest of the Bahamas at heart and that he may not want to come across as the bad guy and ruffle any more feathers but Izmirilian has to get on a level with the Chinese where they are forced to listen to him and must negotiate. There is a single legal process that he can implement that would stop all this back door wheeling and dealing and compel the Chinese to have to deal with and settle his claim. Hint: If you steal a car and sell it to someone else, who is the legal owner?

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Reality_Check 2 years, 1 month ago

As a result of our country's failed legal system, it is generally accepted in the Bahamas that possession (no matter how obtained) is nine-tenths of the law. Sarkis will therefore have to avail himself of the British High Courts in order to claim and retrieve that which was wrongfully swindled from him by Crooked Christie and his host of co-conspirators, including his crooked Chinese friends at CEXIMB and CCA, his political cohorts in crime - Allyson Maynard-Gibson a\k\a the Evil Wicked Witch and Baltron "Bag Man" Bethel - and his lackey Judge (Winder) and lackey receiver (the other Winder at Deloitte). All of these parties played a willing hand in what they clearly should have known was an illegal series of events designed to take the Baha Mar development away from Sarkis as it was nearing completion (typically a very contentious point in time for major developments) and after he had poured over $900 million of his family's wealth into the project.

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BahamaPundit 2 years, 1 month ago

I agree John. There must be something Sarkis can do in the Courts to protect his interest, rather than always coming crying to the Press. At least the Privy Council would not be corrupt.

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BahamaPundit 2 years, 1 month ago

Not sure what you mean John. Sarkis should probably sue the government of the Bahamas for theft of some kind and the Chinese for fraud. What process are you referring to?

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marrcus 2 years, 1 month ago

DNA gonna make headway this time, maybe 5-6 seats. Thats 5-6 seats less for FNM. PLP got this thing locked for a long time. Why you think they are so brazen? "PLP forever, get used to it."

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BahamaPundit 2 years, 1 month ago

Marcus, if you are correct, either most of the island will leave or there will be a civil war. No one in their right mind can stomach five more years of Christie. Most people would rather die than live another term under PLP rule.

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John 2 years, 1 month ago

*ESTOPPEL

(estopped) A bar which precludes someone from denying the truth of a fact which has been determined in an official proceeding or by an authoritative body. An estopple arises when someone has done some act which the policy of the law will not permit her to deny.

In certain situations, the law refuses to allow a person to deny facts when another person has relied on and acted in accordance with the facts on the basis of the first person's behavior.*

"Estoppel is a collective name given to a group of legal doctrines in common law legal systems whereby a person is prevented from making assertions that are contradictory to his or her prior position on certain matters before the court - the person is said to be "estopped".

China ExIm Bank has repeatedly denied that it has special interest in Bah Mar or that it colluded with The China Construction Company to frustrate the owner, delay the project, miss deadlines and eventually take possession of the project. Yet in its actions to sell Bah Mar to Perfect Luck, a holding company it is proving contrary. The bank is apparently selling Bah Mar to itself, Rather than of dispensing of the assets and recovering on the sale. The bank also continues in its relationship with China Construction Company to further develop the property and its claim that this is necessary to get the property sold is questionable.

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Reality_Check 2 years, 1 month ago

Re-post: As a result of our country's failed legal system, it is generally accepted in the Bahamas that possession (no matter how obtained) is nine-tenths of the law. Sarkis will therefore have to avail himself of the British High Courts in order to claim and retrieve that which was wrongfully swindled from him by Crooked Christie and his host of co-conspirators, including his crooked Chinese friends at CEXIMB and CCA, his political cohorts in crime - Allyson Maynard-Gibson aka the Evil Wicked Witch and Baltron "Bag Man" Bethel - and his lackey Judge (Winder) and lackey receiver (the other Winder at Deloitte). All of these parties played a willing hand in what they clearly should have known was an illegal series of events designed to take the Baha Mar development away from Sarkis as it was nearing completion (typically a very contentious point in time for major developments) and after he had poured over $900 million of his family's wealth into the project.

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MonkeeDoo 2 years, 1 month ago

Is there ant way they could all go to jail. ?

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John 2 years, 1 month ago

In other words the Bah Mar affair is like a man going to divorce court and denying he is sleeping with your wife but going to family court and paying child support and saying he's your wife's Daddy

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John 2 years, 1 month ago

*claiming "he is your wife's baby 👶 daddy "

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John 2 years, 1 month ago

In this instance jail term would not be what Zakis wants. He will see restitution and compensation. Meaning he would ask the courts to put him the position he was in before all the deception took place giving him back control over Bah Mar (restitution) and pay him for, "loss of income, injury and suffering", to be determined by the courts. Meaning how much did he lose and suffer (mentally) because of this whole affair. His first witness will, of course, be the prime minister of the Bahamas who has declared publicly and in more than one forum that, "the man gone crazy."

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Reality_Check 2 years, 1 month ago

The Bahamian courts aided and abetted the illegal process by which Sarkis was stripped of his ownership and control of the Baha Mar project. Our courts (Justice Winder) assisted with Crooked Christie's de facto temporary nationalization of the development for the ultimate benefit of his new found Chinese friends. No doubt Crooked Christie and his sidekicks in this endeavour, in particular Allyson Maynard-Gibson a\k\a the Evil Wicked Witch, Baltron "Bag Man" Bethel and the accommodating accountant/receiver Winder, have all been bounteously rewarded for their efforts in this regard. And yet you seem to expect Sarkis to seek justice before the Bahamian courts. You my friend either are unable to see the forest for sake of the trees or are just plain delusional.

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SP 2 years, 1 month ago

....... Christie Never Considered "The best interests of the Bahamas", Only His Own! .......

"Now more than ever the country, in its time of need, requires us to come together.”

Us Who?

Sarkis like everybody else are mistakenly under the assumption that Perry Christie cares about Bahamas or its people.

WRONG!

A review of his track record and representation shows total abandon of his constituency where after 40 years Christie cannot identify one thing he has accomplished for his "loyal constituents".

Perry Christie is PM to friends, family and lovers, however, he is well proven as the # 1 enemy of the state and people of Bahamas!

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VDSheep 2 years, 1 month ago

The number houses ought to form a conglomerate and get some additional funding if needed ' to bid and take over - and complete the Baha Mar project - then lease various property parts out to five star operators. Of course the government must give them first preference! They can even sell shares to Bahamians and others.

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