Local fund liquidators have been given wide powers to effect the recovery of millions of dollars invested with a Cayman Islands-registered brokerage previously run by a man who is a fugitive from the Cayman Islands justice system.
Following a Grand Court hearing Thursday, liquidators Chris Johnson and Graham Robinson were named joint official liquidators of the firm known as Bateman & Company Ltd. The pair had already been named liquidators of another group, B&C Capital Ltd. Both firms operated under a group of companies formerly run by Canadian national Ryan Bateman, court documents state.
Mr. Johnson said Monday that one attorney representing a possible creditor of the former Bateman companies appeared in Grand Court on Thursday, but no one representing Mr. Bateman attended.
According to Thursday’s court order, signed by Justice Ingrid Mangatal, the liquidators are allowed to begin legal proceedings in the U.S., Canada, and the Bahamas and to retain lawyers in those jurisdictions for the purposes of recovering funds.
“The joint official liquidators [are] authorized to do any act or thing considered by them to be necessary or desirable in connection with the liquidation of the company and the winding up of its affairs,” Thursday’s court ruling states.
“We now have full powers to discover what became of the company assets,” Mr. Johnson said.
At this stage, the liquidators are still uncertain about how many creditors could be involved and how much money they are seeking, but Mr. Johnson has already indicated the liquidators have frozen “several million dollars” in securities held by different brokers and are looking for more that may be held in foreign jurisdictions.
Mr. Johnson filed a petition in August seeking the winding up of Bateman & Company Ltd. on behalf of B&C Capital Ltd. after attempts to recover at least $4.8 million in assets failed.
Attempts to reach Bateman for comment numerous times over the past month regarding the liquidation process have been unsuccessful.
The initial winding up petition filed in July sought a declaration that Bateman & Company is liable for “any shortfall in such cash and securities,” and must pay – via B&C Capital – restitution to investors in the firm.
According to a Grand Court order issued on July 22 by Justice Mangatal, B&C Capital Ltd. was ordered to be wound up following a petition filed in June by a British Virgin Islands-based creditor of the company. Lampten Corp. petitioned the Grand Court on June 2, stating it had established an investment account with B&C Capital in February 2015. The petition further stated that the market value of the account was reported to be US$1,689,764.18 as of Aug. 31, 2015.
Winding up is the legal, court-supervised process by which assets of a business are sold to pay off creditors. The business is typically dissolved following that process.
Bateman left the Cayman Islands in late 2014, missing a court appearance on a criminal charge of grievous bodily harm in connection with a domestic dispute. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has said Bateman will be arrested if he returns to the islands.
In July, the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority canceled Bateman’s director registration. The decision by the financial regulator alleged that Bateman carried on “business in a manner detrimental to the public interest, or to the interests of the covered entities for which you are appointed as a registered director.”
CIMA stated Bateman was “a person that is not a fit and proper person to hold a position as a registered director.”