Long Well Group: Singapore Apex Court Rejects Commerzbank Asset Management Asia Ltd. Appeal

SINGAPORE -  Media OutReach  - 17 April 2019 -   Long Well Group Ltd., a privately-held conglomerate with wide ranging business interests, said today that the Singapore Court of Appeal has rejected the appeal by Commerzbank Asset Management Asia Ltd. and upheld the lower court's finding that it had breached agreements entered into with Long Well Group Ltd and a related entity.

In reaching its conclusion, the Court of Appeal noted that Commerzbank Asset Management Asia had failed to show that it had transferred shares to the plaintiffs, which had been paid for.

The latest decision by the Court of Appeal signifies a final closure to this long-standing legal suit, which commenced in 2012. There is no longer any legal recourse by Commerzbank Asset Management Asia Ltd. to dispute liability and it owes a judgment debt of $41 million to the Long Well Group (and its related entity).

A statement from the Long Well litigation team said: "Long Well is pleased with its success at the trial and the appeal. Our clients truly believed in the investment opportunity from the outset. Hence, the finality of the successful appeal has come as a relief. We have been instructed to now take the necessary legal steps to enforce the judgment debt owing by Commerzbank Asset Management Asia Ltd."

Background of Long Well Group vs Commerzbank Suit

The plaintiffs in this case are Long Well Group and its related entities, which are privately held with business interests in energy, construction and property in Southeast Asia.

The defendants are German-headquartered Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft, which owns Commerz Asset Management Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd., which in turn owns Commerzbank Asset Management Asia. The latter remains a "live" company.

This case dates back to October 2005 when one of the defendants, a Commerz fund, and Indonesia's PT Pertamina successfully bid for and secured oil and gas concessions in Libya.

The plaintiffs were expecting to "acquire a direct stake in the profits gained from the venture".  Hence, it made financial investments in excess of US$18.018 million, in phases. However, despite making the financial payments, Long Well Group and the other plaintiffs "never received ownership" of the Commerz fund and the participating shares.

As a result, Long Well Group and the plaintiffs commenced the legal suit against the defendants. In the High Court judgment that was issued, it specifically stated Commerzbank Asset Management Asia Ltd was found "to be in breach of the Transfer Agreement and the Share Subscription Agreements since [Commerzbank Asset Management Asia Ltd] was obliged to effect the transfer."

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