Page10Strip-Contractor's Greek bank accounts frozen in legal dispute

07 October 2009

Palestinian businessman wins bid to freeze bank accounts of Consolidated Contractors Company

A long-running legal dispute between Palestinian businessman, Munib Masri, and Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) has taken a fresh twist after a Greek court froze the bank accounts of the contractor’s main operating company.

Athens-registered Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCIC), one of the Middle East’s biggest contractors, had its Greek bank accounts frozen on September 28.

The legal dispute dates back to 1992 when CC (Oil & Gas) and CCIC agreed to pay Masri 10 per cent of the revenue from Yemen’s Masila oil field.

In 2007, the High Court of England & Wales ruled that CCIC and Consolidated Contractors (Oil & Gas) Company (CCOG) failed to honour the 1992 agreement with Masri.

The court ordered the two CCC businesses to pay more than $70m to Masri, but the businesses have refused to pay.

Last month’s judgement by the Athens First Instance Court, seen by MEED, ordered the “attachment” of all CCIC’s assets in Greece, including accounts and deposits from any contracts, up to a value of $65m.

CCC could not be reached for comment.

CCIC employs about 500 staff, according to Simmons & Simmons, the law firm representing Masri.

Andrew Bartlett, solicitor at Simmons & Simmons, the law firm acting for Masri, said the Greek court ruling was significant because CCIC employs hundreds of staff in Athens.

“One would expect that money would be passing through Greece and it’s not just a country where CCC would want to withdraw from,” he said.

Freezing injunctions and similar orders against the CCC companies are now in place in England, Nigeria, Greece, Bermuda, Switzerland, Palestine and the Cayman Islands, Simmons & Simmons said.

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