UK court freezes bank accounts of Consolidated Contractors Company

04 August 2008
Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) has had 15 bank accounts frozen by the UK High Court, as part of a long-running breach of contract case brought by Palestinian businessman Munib Masri.

The Athens-based construction group, which has interests across the Middle East, is expected to challenge the 4 August ruling, which relates to accounts in Lebanon, UAE, Dubai, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Egypt.

The accounts are controlled by CCC’s subsidiaries, Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCIC) and Consolidated Contractors Oil & Gas Company SAL (CCOG).

The case relates to Masri’s claim for breach of contract over CCC’s refusal to pay an agreed share of revenues from production in the Masila oil field in Yemen. Under the terms of the 1992 deal, Masri was to receive 10 per cent of revenues. A court ruling in 2007 ordered the company to pay Masri more than $60m.

The UK Court of Appeal has also ordered CCC board member Toufic Khoury to pay £80,000 ($158,000) in costs to Masri.

However, CCC is fighting the UK orders, with enforcement actions ongoing or pending in the relevant jurisdictions.

“CCC has gone to great lengths to try to prevent enforcement of the orders,” says Andrew Bartlett, a solicitor at the UK law firm Simmons & Simmons, which has been acting for Masri.

“The ring is closing round them and it is getting harder to escape. But this has been a very long and complicated case, with further hearings and applications to come. You never know what will be the knock-out blow.”

Masri and CCC were unavailable for comment.

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